Liturgy of the hours/Divine Office for the lay

Feeling guilty after confession

When it comes to confession I get nervous and guilty, not only for my sin alone but also repetitive addictions. I use the word addiction because of the repetitive nature of the sin and disability to fight its repetitiveness. Each time just before the priest reads out my penance, he would advise me to spend more time in prayer. Running out of the confessionals still feeling with guilt, I would ask myself, ‘what to pray, how long to pray & when to pray?’.

This went on for years, until a day while confessing my sin to a very calm priest. He advised me the same thing “Do spend more time in prayer”. I was furious and blurted out the questions on my mind (I think my tone was a little too harsh). The really calm priest started a conversation with me suggested that I do the LOTH (Liturgy of the Hours not LOTR-Lord of the Rings). This priest kind enough that he offered himself to guide me on it after the confessions.

At one point running out of the confessionals feeling guilty to now feeling so much more relieved and happier after confessions. I owe it all to Gods blessing through the LOTH.

The Divine Office

LOTH, also known as Divine Office or Work of God (Opus Dei), is the daily prayer of the Church. From what I am to understand, its compulsory for all Religious (Priest, Nuns, Religious Brothers, etc) recite the divine office everyday. NO! I am not a religious. The Second Vatican Council do recommend us the laity to recite the Divine Office.

An interesting post I read one why pray the Divine Office posted by the The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore.

The first sight of the LOTH frightened me(each book is more than a 1000 pages long). I was even more frightened to know that there are 4 volumes to the LOTH. Once you start on this you would realize you would only be reading about ~10 pages a day or 1 to 2 hours spread throughout the day. 1 to 2 hours seems long for a working adult but take the first step its only a challenge for the first week or 2 after which it becomes a part of you.

However what inspired me more to start Divine Office was to know that Jesus himself prayed the divinBut once out e office. Surprised?! I kid you not. Check out this video by Fr Casey Cole.

The Divine Office is structured to include;

  • Hymns
  • Psalms
  • Scripture Readings
  • Prayers

What helps me the most on the Divine Office are the scriptures both the psalms and short scripture readings. The scripture readings never fail to send me a message. This post is an example of how the scriptures speak to me.

When to Recite the Divine Office

For me to the main purpose of the Divine Office is to keep your thoughts on God throughout the day. This is done through a structured prayer throughout the day. The Divine Office prayer are split into a few prayers;

  • Morning/Lauds (around 6am~9am)
    • I normally do this as the first thing after waking up.
    • Takes about to 10 to 15 mins
  • Midday/Sext (around 12pm~2pm)
    • When I used to work I would do this just before I go out for my lunch.
    • Takes about to 5 to 10 mins
  • Evening/Vespers (around 5:30pm~7:30pm)
    • I would normally do this once I get back home after work or a a church on the way home.
    • This helps to make sure I get off work on time.
    • Takes about to 10 to 15 mins.
  • Night/Compline (around 10pm~12am)
    • Yup I do this before sleeping.
    • Helps me to stop using any gadgets before I sleep.
    • Reciting the prayers alone takes less than 10 mins.
    • The night prayer also includes an examen of conscience
      • This helps me to reflect on my whole day and wind down after a long day.
      • I normally take about ~15mins here
  • Office of Readings
    • This is the longest one (~30mins)
    • My bad, I miss this extremely frequently.

If you see how the Divine Office is spread through out the day you would be spending 10~15 mins praying every 3 to 6 hours interval, which helps one to focus on God at every interval of the day.

Where to find the Divine Office

If you want to start reciting the Divine Office but do not have the book, I have started posting the daily Divine Office readings here (It has been consistent for the last 3 days). Although I am posting the digital content here , I would still recommend that you get the physical book. The physical book was the best investment I have ever made and made me more committed to LOTH (in a way).

Here are few places where you can get

  • Digital media
    • Here on this sites under the Other Resources menu
    • universalis.com (I update MustardSeedsCommunity.com Divine Office page with the content from this site)
  • Purchase Online : From Amazon
  • Physical : Any Church Book Store should have this.
  • Just drop me an email with your details if you can’t find it, I can try to hunt it down for you.

Final Note

If you have any questions on this post, please feel free to drop me an email.

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