Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Divine Office Bootcamp IV - Daytime Prayer

Daytime Prayer is something like  the Trinity: both three and one.

The Liturgy of the Hours gives us three opportunities to pause and praise God during the course of our daily work (or on Sunday, during the course of our rest!), at mid-morning, midday,and midafternoon. In many monasteries, all three of these (short) daytime hours are observed. Recognizing that most parish priests and lay people will find it difficult to do all three daytime hours, the Church  recommends that we aim to do only one of them. (The difficulty is not in the amount of time this takes: each daytime hour can be done in less than five minutes. But actually being able to organize your day and remembering  to stop and pray three separate times during the workday is the hard part.)  Thus, the  references in the General Instruction on  the Liturgy of the Hours to "the Daytime Hour" even though there are , in fact, three "daytime hours"

If you would like to add a daytime hour to your daily prayer routine, choose whichever one you like. Either go consistently with the same one that best fits into your schedule, OR change it up according to what time of day it actually occurs to you to stop and pray.

If you read lots of literature set in monasteries, or during the Middle Ages, or if you like to read a lot about liturgy, you will have heard the Daytime hours described by the names of Terce, Sext, and None. These words are Latin for three, six, and nine, because these hours are traditionally prayed at the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, that is, at nine a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.

The elements of Daytime Prayer are similar to those of the other hours:
Opening Verse: God, come to my assistance, etc.
Hymn: Always keep in mind that you don't have to use the hymn your breviary has chosen if you don't want to. Any seasonally appropriate choice will do. If you aren't in a position to sing, say/read the lyrics as a poem/prayer.

Psalmody: three psalms or parts of psalms, introduced with antiphons and concluded with Glory Be's.
You will notice that during Holy Seasons and  on feasts and solemnities there may only be a single antiphon used at the beginning and end of the psalmody, while during ordinary  time there is an antiphon for each psalm or psalm-section.

The bulk of the Daytime Prayer psalter consists of  the longest psalm , Psalm 118, broken into its many sections over the course of 20 days. It's a good one for daytime prayer, because it speaks so much of living the moral life, God's law, and loving God's will through thick  and thin. Just what we need to help us get through the rigors of our daily work, don't you think?

After the psalmody  comes a super short reading (often a single verse of scripture) , followed by a short versicle , a concluding prayer, and then the conclusion "Let us bless  the Lord/And give  Him  thanks."

If you decide to pray more than one daytime hour, you will go to the complementary psalmody for your psalms to avoid repeating the same ones twice in a day. Your breviary  will tell you the page number for these. has the  complementary psalmody worked right into its sequence. The app has you clicking back to the "Prayers" page to find  them.

And let this suffice for Daytime Prayer.

Any questions?