Breathe Life into the Divine Office with C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms

After praying the divine office for about a year, I still could not truly enter into the Psalms. It was hard to understand what the Psalms were describing and I lacked any biblical context to explain it. All I knew was that the Psalms were written by King David.

King David Playing the Harp – Gerard van Honthorst

Then our seminary rector highly recommended that we pick-up C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms. After reading one of my favorite authors explain the context and deep meaning behind the Psalms, the divine office became something I looked forward to and it breathed new life into my prayers.

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An Introduction to the Four Volume Breviary

After mastering the one volume Christian Prayeryou may be inclined to go the next step and purchase your own four volume breviary. Once again, praying with these leather-bound books can be daunting for someone who does not have any guidance and so that is why I hope to give you a firm foundation that will make it an easy transition.

Before I begin, a few items to note:

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A Beginner’s Guide to Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

Praying with a physical breviary can be challenging especially if no one is there to show you how. However, after an initial introduction to praying the Liturgy of the Hours, it becomes quite easy and is like clockwork.

Today, I will walk you through the most common prayer book lay people can pick up to pray the principal hours of the divine office: Christian Prayer. It contains: Morning, Evening & Night Prayer, with an abbreviated section for the Office of Readings and Daytime Prayer. If you only have enough time to pray one or more of those prayers, I suggest picking-up Christian Prayer.

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Physical Breviary vs. iBreviary: How is a Person to Pray?

The benefits of technology are countless, but “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Just because we can do something does not necessarily mean we should. When it comes to prayer, (specifically praying the Liturgy of the Hours) there are numerous benefits to praying digitally. But should we?

Personally, throughout the years I have used iPads and iPhones as well as leather-bound prayer books and breviaries. From these experiences I have reflected on this topic and have come up with the following benefits and drawbacks to praying in a digital world:

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The Digital Breviary: A Guide to Praying the Divine Office in a Digital World

Technology has simplified many activities and one of those is praying the Divine Office. The thought of engaging in such a complex prayer as the Liturgy of the Hours can be daunting, but thankfully many individuals have made it as easy as clicking a button.

Still, there are a few “tricks-of-the-trade” that are worth noting before you embark on praying the “public prayer of the Church.” Before we begin let’s “briefly” review what the Divine Office consists of and examine its ancient history.

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5 Reasons to Pray the Divine Office Daily

If I were to ask someone, “what is the public prayer of the Church,” I would typically get the answer of the Rosary. While the Rosary is a great devotion, the Church names a different prayer the “public prayer of the church:” “The divine office, because it is the public prayer of the Church, is a source of piety, and nourishment for personal prayer” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 90). Yet very few lay people pray the divine office (aka the “Liturgy of the Hours;” praying the Psalms on a daily basis). It is often seen as the prayer of the priest, nun or monk.

Young Monk Praying. – Wikipedia

While that is true, it is not meant to be reserved only to them. In fact, it is a prayer that is designed to unite the entire Church in prayer and has the capacity to truly deepen a person’s prayer life. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider praying the divine office daily:

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