Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Catholic Church.  SEE HERE  The ordained and those in consecrated life make solemn promises to pray it prayer every day.  Everyone else is encouraged to pray it.  When someone sees me for spiritual stuff, I try to encourage the praying the Hours but honestly, it is a difficult thing to do.
Firstly, if you were going to go all out and get the entire Liturgy of the Hours, a book called the Breviary, it is four volumes (there is talk of it going to five) and can be very expensive.  You could buy a less expensive version that is only one volume but at times it is difficult to use when others are using the four volume.  Things don’t always line up.
Then there is praying the Hours themselves.  It can be very tricky.  There are all kinds of page turning back and forth.  Even if you get the page turning down in one season, it can change slightly in the next.  There is a companion booklet printed every year just to tell you what pages you are supposed to be on.

Thirdly, there are things that you are just supposed to know.  That is one of the advantages of praying them in common (with other people) you get to know all the little intricacies by being with and praying with the community.  But what if you are pushed out the rectory door with your own book after a half hour of instruction?  It can be a little overwhelming and discouraging.
Lastly, it is just a bulky thing to lug around.  It seems every time I go on vacation we are in the middle of switching between two books.  I know I’m whining but lugging around books is not fun.  Or if you are taking a day trip and know you’ll be gone when you should pray, do you want to take an expensive book where it might get damaged?  The beech?  The pool?  Do you want to pack it on your bike ride?
Well here’s some happy news:  There is a FREE app called Ibreviary.  SEE HERE All the prayers are right there.  There is no page turning.  Most of the things that you are just supposed to know to pray are written out every time.  You can have it on your phone (which is probably with you all the time anyway) or your Ipad or what have you – or just plain bring it up on your computer.  On the phone there are even options for hands free scrolling and to have it read to you though this feature needs quite a bit of tweaking.
Easy, convenient, and inexpensive: the trifecta.  It may not (and probably should not) completely replace the Breviary, but if it is a choice between politely passing or praying, get it.  GET IT.  GET IT!


Chris P. said...

I like the iBreviary app - but for better or for worse I've always been thrilled with two "competitors," Laudate (although I believe it uses the Jerusalem bible that they use in the UK.. which means it also has a "Yahweh" issue) and the $20 Divine Office app.

My favorite is the Divine Office app. I find it to be as easy to use as the iBreviary, but since I have real difficulty EVER finding anyone to do these with - the audio recordings are wonderful to work along with. At lunch, I can hole myself up in a conference room here at work, pop on some headphones, and pray away, and have some semblance of community.

Then, I can follow along in the medium sized one book "Christian Prayer" volume, and have 99% accuracy.

I highly recommend it, even with the $20 price tag

Chris P. said...

Oops - "Divine office 2" The original is good, "2" is better and carries the same price tag.

Anonymous said...

Father -

If you want to avoid lugging around your LOH book(s), I have a tip. I will soon be professed (May 30!) as a Secular Franciscan, so I also have to pray the LOH every day. When I went on pilgrimage last fall, I went to the Divine Office website and printed out the prayers for each day I was going to be away. At the end of each day I just pitched the daily copy. By the end of the trip I only had the last pages of the daily LOH to carry. It worked out very well for me!

I am forwarding this article to my fellow SFO candidates. Trying to navigate our LOH has been one of the more difficult tasks. Thank heavens for the booklet that refers us to the proper pages daily!


W.C. Hoag said...

As I pray the 62 liturgical books, I use the iMass app on my cell phone and tablet. This app has the daily Mass and well as Office in the Extraordinary Form.

Cathy said...

Internet access is free. One can read or listen. The hymns are particularly beautiful. The readings are chanted on Sundays and solemnities.

Internet access is free. (The translations of the Psalms are unique, apparently to avoid copyright violation.)

I always buy the annual St. Joseph Guide to direct me to the proper readings.

As a diocesan "consecrated virgin living in the world", I favor "hands-on" reading from the volumes because they were given to me at my Mass of Consecration. Awesome! Alleluia!

New readers would do well to begin with either Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, to ease into the process.

Michelle said...

After 30 years I don't need the St Joseph's book to tell me the pages any more (I use the 1 volume with the parish, 4 volume at home), and do use iBreviary for Night Prayer (no need to turn on the light).

I long ago bought a small British volume to travel with. It's not ideal for long trips in Lent/Easter or Advent, but perfect for the summer as it includes the 4 week psalter, and the propers for feasts and Sundays. The whole thing is about the size of my phone.