Monday, March 7, 2011

Words and Books

Just so everyone is clear: Liturgy of the Hours = The Divine Office. Two names for the same thing. I tend to use "Divine Office" because it's fewer keystrokes. Liturgy of the Hours is a somewhat more official title, I gather, since that is the title on most breviaries.

Next: types of printed breviaries. The most widely used breviary in the United States is put out by the Catholic Book Publishing company. The 4-volume version (around $125 on Amazon) has all the liturgical hours for every day of the year. If you are committed to praying more than just Morning , Evening and Night Prayer, than you want to get the 4-volume. If this is too big a chunk of change, you may buy one volume at a time for $32.44 a piece. The one to send for now  is volume II- Lent thru Easter.

The more economical thing to do,  is to purchase the one-volume version. (Also from CBC) It include the complete Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer for the entire year.It also has selection from Daytime  Prayer. This is enough for most people, an d probably enough for anyone who is just beginning.

The Daughters of St. Paul used to have a one volume book which I liked better than CBC since instead of wasting pages on a section of hymns, their breviary included the complete Daytime Prayer as well. If you find this breviary, it is for now the best one-volume version. Currently it is out of print. The Daughters are planning on a new edition, but it won't be out until 2012 at the earliest.

CBC also has a slimmer volume titled Shorter Christian Prayer. This is the basic 4-week Psalter for Morning and Evening Prayer. It does not include the variations needed for the Church seasons or feast days.  But a beginner who has this book lying around should use  it for a few months, since it is very easy to learn to use. You can always buy the real thing later.

Full fledged members of the digital generation might prefer to not bother with books and simply use   All the how-to's on this blog are for old and young fogeys who just like to hold a book and turn the pages, and who want to be able to read the Office when there is a power outage.