Divine Office Forum: Finding Time

Finding Time QUESTION from Stephen on October 18, 2002 Dear Br Ignatius
Thank you for your response to my earlier posting.
I am now trying to pray as many of the Hours as possible each day. On a good day I manage the Office of Readings, one of the prayers in the day, evening and night prayers. Morning prayers is the most difficult, certainly with a family breakfast, getting the children ready for school and having to hit the ground running at the office. Rather than say morning prayers mid morning or later I have skipped them. My first question is; how late in the day can morning prayers be said?
I appreciate in an ideal world we would all have time to say each Hour slowly with time to contemplate their content. However, in my eagerness to become familiar with all the Hours, I think I tend to cram in an Hour when I have a gap that is not necessarily long enough to do the Hour full justice. Is it, therefore, better to do only one Hour thoroughly and in depth during the day or a number of Hours without much time for contemplation?
Pax Christi
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 20, 2002 Dear Stephen:
See my previous post to Mr. Paul for a discussion on this issue and some quotations from the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours.
We are to try to get as close to the canonical hours as possible. For our secular people in the Legion of St. Michael we give a range of time for Lauds from around 5am to 8am. Mr. Paul was asking about 9am which is really pushing it.
The whole purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify the hours of the day. I think that rushing through it just to have it said is a little too much. We need to savor the office, think about it, meditate upon it. I would not recommend rushing through it merely to get accomplished the hour.
Perhaps get up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and pray Lauds. If you recite Lauds instead of sing it 20-25 minutes should be enough time.
During the day, if you pray any of the day hours, you only need about 10-15 minutes.
Vespers takes about 20-25 minutes and compline about 10-15 minutes.
For Day pray, only one of the three times for the day need be prayed should you choose to pray any of the day prayers. Thus you have three opportunities to say a Day Prayer depending on when you are available during the day each day.
At evening, set aside some time before supper maybe, where you can be alone in your bedroom or den, or better yet bring in the whole family for the 20-25 minutes to pray Vespers.
Compline then can be said at any time later in the evening before going to bed.
But if the morning is just to chaotic, perhaps it is better to skip Lauds rather than to rush through it.
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