As I spend this day grading MLA essays for my research paper class at Brave Writer, I thought I'd post a little something about the Daily Office, also called the Divine Office, the Divine Hours, the Daily Hours, etc.
I ran across this excellent explanation of the Daily Office at The Virtual Abbey: For the Modern Monastic, one of my favorite blogs. For my non-liturgical friends, this explanation will be very helpful in seeing the value of the Daily Office of Prayer that many Catholics and some Anglicans pray as part of their day.
The Virtual Abbey: The Daily Office, Part I
For a busy homeschooling mom like me, I've found a less-exhausting and far more manageable way to pray the Daily Office through Phyllis Tickle's beautiful book series, The Divine Hours. Published in three volumes that cover the entire year, Tickle has laid out Scripture and prayers for Morning, Midday, Vespers, and Compline--much more manageable than the whole Daily Office. She has also published smaller guides specifically for Advent and Lent.
And, best of all, she has the Divine Hours available online for free! Just enter your time zone and up pops the readings and prayers for your time of day. If I'm running a bit late, I fudge the time zone and use Hawaiian time if I miss Morning Prayer (as I'm not much of a morning person).
The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle online
(Scroll down to "Pray the Hours")
I have my phone alarm set for 12:30 PM for Midday Prayer and for 6:00 PM for Vespers. I pray Morning Prayer after I get dressed and Compline just before crawling into bed. The prayers follow the seasons of the Church Year and mostly consist of Scripture, with a few Anglican Collect prayers and a few historical prayers here and there. Each prayer time takes only a few minutes, but praying the Daily Office requires us to stop in the midst of our busy lives and make time for prayer.
I also combine Morning Prayer and Compline with John Baillie's little classic A Diary of Private Prayer which contains Morning and Evening Prayers for thirty days plus special prayers for Sunday so that I pray through the book each month. And of course I pray the Morning and Evening Offices of Prayer from The Book of Common Prayer as well, usually the 1928, although in our homeschool we often use the 2011 version that I am currently helping to proofread and edit.
So this is how I pray the Daily Office. I pray it far from perfectly, but I find that when I take the time out of my day to stop whatever is at hand and direct my thoughts and prayers to Christ, the rest of the day, no matter what it holds, becomes more peace-filled, more imbued with grace.
All thanks be to God who daily loads us with His good gifts!
Praying daily with you,