Friday, December 2, 2016

When You Have Shut the Door

Did you do Office of Readings today?

Those first two paragraphs from St. Anselm just blew me away. In case you missed it--or the caffeine hadn't kicked in yet while you were reading them, here they are:

Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts.  Break off from your cares and troubles, and be less concerned about your tasks and labors.  Make a little time for God and rest a while in Him.  Enter into your mind's inner chamber. shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek Him; and when you have shut the door, look for Him.

Speak now to God and say with your whole heart, "I seek you Face; your Face, Lord I desire." 

I know that there are traditional prayers to say before beginning the Divine Office. Although when I think to say this one--which is not often--I usually find the card I had it on is missing. But these lines from St. Anselm today seemed so utterly perfect as a help to getting me into the proper mindset for prayer, that I copied them onto an index card as neatly as I could so that I'd have it at hand inside the cover of my breviary each day.   Anselm's message was especially appropriate for me at this time of year. Between planning for Christmas and Healthcare enrollment Purgatory, my mind is everywhere except that peaceful inner chamber. Hopefully this little meditation will get me there, with the door shut, more often.

Q&A Time: any questions or confusion about praying the Liturgy of the Hours can be resolved here. Just ask a question below.

Also--there are still four of you who won an O Emmanuel CD but did not write to me with your address. Please look back at the comments on this post and see whether the entry comment you made is followed by my comment to the effect that you have won. Otherwise I will have to choose some runners up to get your CD.

If anyone is interested, the most popular O  Antiphon in our poll  by far was O Oriens (aka O Rising Sun, O Dayspring), followed not too distantly by O Sapientia (O Widsom). 


  1. Hello Daria, a question for you. There seems to be a difference of opinion whether we, the Laity, when we say the DO alone, do so as a devotional, and not liturgically. I would appreciate your opinion and insight please

    1. Hi Norman. The "devotional only" idea tends to come from fans of traditional (EF) liturgy, and perhaps it is still true for those who use a pre-Vatican II breviary, which I believe is only considered "liturgical" when read in Latin. (Although I could be wrong there: I'm not very knowledgeable about these older forms.) I believe we laity pray the LOTH liturgically because of what the Church tells us. In the General Instruction, #27 it says the laity are encouraged to "fulfill the Church's office [note that word, office, the meaning of which is "official duty"] by celebrating part of the Liturgy of the Hours."

  2. Since the laity are not obligated to pray the Divine Office in any form and acknowledging that morning/evening prayer are the two offices recommended for the laity, would it seem out of place for a layperson to pray one of the daytime offices and night prayer due to time constraints? At times I have prayed Prime and Compline from the beautiful Baronius Press Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I do also like my volume of Daytime Prayer published by CBPC and I realize that Prime is now suppressed but midmorning, midday and midafternoon prayer correspond well to Prime, Terce and Sext so that could work, although I would miss praying the Our Father and the intercessions. I would really appreciate insights and suggestions, thanks.

    1. Blessed Pope Paul VI said, in his Apostolic Constitution on the Divine Office said, "The recitation of the Office should be adapted, as far as possible, to the needs of living and personal prayer, so that...forms of celebration [are] chosen, that are more suited to the spiritual needs of those who pray it." And there are many places in the General Instruction where the laity are encouraged to "adapt" their use of the Divne Office to their situation and needs. So, yes, it sound like you have found a way to do exactly that.