Praying the Divine Office with Flannery O’Connor

For over twenty-five years, my husband and I have prayed morning and evening prayer together. They are the hinges of our day, a metaphor I borrow from the introduction to the prayer book we use: The Liturgy of the Hours, also known in Catholic worship as the Divine Office.

Our pattern is to pray morning prayer right after breakfast (I don’t pray well on an empty stomach), then evening prayer right after dinner. Of course we sometimes have to break the pattern and skip the prayers: if one of us is traveling, or if we have to rush out to a doctor’s appointment after breakfast or an evening event after dinner. But the pattern is followed as much as practicable, and I can’t imagine our lives without it.

Starting and ending the day with praise of God helps put into perspective our current fussing. And there’s nothing so good for a marriage as saying the Lord’s Prayer together twice a day, with its focus on forgiveness.

The Divine Office is an ancient tradition in the Catholic church. I like following a time-honored pattern, and one that is also being followed by people around the world each day. Praying the liturgy of the hours makes me feel part of the body of Christ in a real way. [Read more…]