Prayer: Daily Office
Divine Worship: Daily Office
A Treasure to be Shared
One of the great patrimonial riches that the Ordinariate brings back into the Church is praying the Daily Office, that is the custom of Morning and Evening Prayer, prayed not only by the priests, but by the whole of the faithful. This tradition goes back to the seventh century and was started by the Benedictines, beginning with St. Augustine of Canterbury. The Benedictine missionaries brought with them into the parishes they founded, a strong tradition of praying together daily, “in choir,” what has become known as the Daily Office. This took hold among English speaking Catholics and became a regular feature of their parishes.
A Gift for the Whole Church
This custom of parish prayer is being brought back into the Church by the Ordinariate. Although the other form of these prayers, most commonly known as the Liturgy of the Hours, has been encouraged by the Church for the entirety of the faithful, especially for praying in parishes, this custom has not taken hold. The centuries old tradition within Anglicanism, of praying these prayers together, can be a great gift and encouragement for the rest of the Church in bringing this custom into all parishes.
The Second Most Powerful Prayer of the Church
After the Mass the Liturgy of the Hours is the second most powerful form of prayer in the Church. It is even more powerful than the rosary! Originally, the rosary was assembled for those who were not able to afford a Psalter, the book of Psalms needed to be able to pray the Daily Office. This is the reason that the original rosaries were made up of 150 beads, one bead for each of the 150 Psalms. The Liturgy of the Hours is so important that it is required by canon law to be prayed by all clergy and avowed religious and strongly encouraged for lay people.
What is so Special about the Daily Office?
Divine Worship: Daily Office contains some of the finest, most memorable English prose ever written, a superb tool for evangelization while enabling the immense beauty of the Anglican patrimony to be shared throughout the Church. The book contains the poetic, Coverdale edition of the Psalter and both Old Testament and a New Testament readings assigned in morning and evening prayer resulting in most of the Old Testament being read once and the entire New Testament twice over the course of the year. The Daily Office is a wonderful means of becoming intimately familiar with the scriptures while praying through them with the Church.
What is it like to pray the Office?
Structurally, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are nearly identical, each beginning with a penitential rite, followed by Psalms, prescribed readings from the Old Testament, and New Testament, interspersed with scriptural canticles, and concluding with a selection of prayers and collects. When prayed aloud at a reasonable pace, the offices rarely take over twenty minutes to say. When chanted or sung, they can take upwards of half an hour or more—but it is a glorious experience, truly a foretaste of heaven on earth. The framework of these offices is very simple, straightforward and relatively unvarying, making them easy to commit to memory and absolutely superb for family prayer.
- Online thanks to the generosity of Mr. John Covert
- Sunday mornings at St. James: 9:10 AM
- Purchase your own copy of Divine Worship: Daily Office (North American Edition), available only through the communities of the Ordinariate.