Monday, November 28, 2011

From Niche to Mainstream

These are the words that start your day with the Divine Office.

Welcome, Catholic Exchange readers to Coffee and Canticles!

When the folks at CE invited me to appear on it's homepage, I felt pleased, honored, and a little surprised. After all, mine is not  a brilliant apologetics blog. Nor a  fun- yet- inspirational Catholic Mothers' blog. Nor a blog of astute and witty commentary on world events from a Catholic perspective.

Aside from occasional forays into other areas, this blog focuses on a narrow topic:  the most under- appreciated prayer in the Catholic Church.

The prayer that three popes have exhorted us to use. Pope Benedict in particular has been begging the faithful to take this prayer out of its clerical and monastic niche and turn  it into mainstream Catholic spiritual practice. Or, in the Church's words, "the prayer of the whole people of God."

I refer to the Liturgy of the Hours, aka the Divine Office, aka the breviary.

Looking to the left of the Catholic Exchange homepage, I see a  link to the day's liturgical hours, courtesy of  That tells me CE and many of its  readers are part of the  rapidly expanding group of Catholics who have taken seriously the Pope's request (made again as recently as two weeks ago), asking  "everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline."

That "becoming accustomed" is what we do here at Coffee and Canticles. Learning to pray the Office is not like reading a novena off a holy card. It's more like learning to drive a car. There's vocabulary and rules and skills to acquire. That can be a bit frustrating at first. But once you get it down, you'll be like the newly licensed teenager: a whole new world will be open to you. A world where Sacred Scripture becomes your prayer. A world where you are praying in Christ and He is praying in you.  A world where you join with your brothers and sisters around the world in a magnificent sacrifice of praise, you own little pathetic squeak of a voice miraculously harmonizing with an eternal song.

You'll have no idea how cool this is until you try it. Next to the mass, there's no better way to pray.

So take a  look around at the tabs and archives. Note that questions and comments are invited and welcomed. I hope you'll want to come back again and again to learn and to share your own thoughts about sanctifying the day with the Liturgy of the Hours.