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!