I have a question about praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I am a police officer and I try to pray the morning and evening prayer everyday, however I now have to work a different shift which won’t allow me to be around to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I will usually be able to pray either the morning prayer or the evening prayer but I will be working during the times that I am supposed to pray the other portion of the Liturgy of the Hours. My question is if I cannot pray a certain part of the Liturgy of the Hours because I am working should I make it up later or should I just skip that portion of prayer because I missed it, and pick back up the next day?
It’s up to you, really. Personally, I pray the hour as soon as I’m able sometimes praying two hours together. Laity are not required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and don’t have strict rules to follow. Do what is best for you!
It is entirely up to you. You do not have a legal obligation to pray the Office so you are doing well already. The main thing is to pray it even when you feel least able, totally uninterested and feeling spiritually numb.
Only those that are ordained as deacons, priests or bishops as legally bound to pray the Office (legal as in a commitment to Love, not legalism) on behalf of the entire Church.
My bishop told me (I’m a seminarian (of the older sort)) that he has on occasions said his entire office in the morning as he was aware that he would not have a spare moment until the late evening.
It is wonderful to know that there are others saying the same prayers around the world. ‘When our brethren in the West are sleeping those in the East are praising, and so the Lord receives a constant symphony of prayer.’
I use the “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” rule.
I will pray Morning Prayer anytime before 8am.
If you are working the night shift you can pray Morning Prayer (Lauds) at midnight–when it was originally prayed by religious orders. And you only need read the words to pray the office, so you can do it on breaks. If you can’t complete the office, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to carry unfinished parts over to another day/hour. As a lay person you are not obligated to pray the hours, so if you can only do one psalm and the closing prayer, that would suffice. IOW, do the prayers as they best suit your state in life and your responsibilities to your work and family.
If you have a smartphone, you could also download the iBreviary. I have found this to be rather helpful. It is a free application. The one that I have is for a Blackberry, but I am sure that there is one for an iPhone and an Android.
That’s a good suggestion. I haven’t caught up with the 21st century on that one, yet, I’m afraid.
Sometimes, though, I am too dumb for a smartphone. But, it can come in handy.
I have a copy of Shorter Christian Prayer. When I had a vehicle, I kept it in the glove compartment for times when I might not be home. It is small enough to carry in a purse, backpack, or briefcase.
Like others have said, do what you can and don’t stress too much about what you can’t. I’ve worked a funny schedule and prayed Morning and Evening prayer at whatever was my morning and evening. This meant I often prayed MP when I woke up at 11 and EP at midnight. Not so much the official times, but it worked for me.
I figure that those who pray at the professional level, all the cloistered Monks and Nuns, have got our backs.
If I miss, I just remember that they are doing it seven times a day, every day, for going on now about 1600 years. They got it covered.
As you have been well informed you are not obliged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. However, our Faith is not one where we only do what the ‘rules’ say. Good for you for praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
There are other hours besides Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. You could recite Offices that are appropriate to the time of day. This may complicate things for you but the LOTH is complex and it will take you time to find your way around it. There’s no rush, you can take your time.
When the LOTH was revised following Vatican II two of the many things envisioned for the Office was a return to reciting the offices are their proper times and not combining them all together just to get them out of the way. It is better to say those offices that are relevant to the time of day.
Prayer during the Day: mid-morning, noon, and mid-afternoon, sometimes known by their older names of Terce, Sext, and None are short offices (about 10 minutes). They may well fit in with your work commitments as you may be able to pray them in breaks.
Thank all of you very much for your help. Am I correct in reading that I don’t have to say the Liturgy of the Hours out loud, I can just read the prayers and it will be the same as if I had said it out loud?
That’s right. When we read with attention and devotion it is the same as reading out loud. Only religious who do the offices in choir really have to do them out loud because then it is communal prayer. Individually no one has to pray the offices out loud. This makes it nice for priests and religious who may be traveling. They can sit on the train, plane, bus, etc. and read the offices. If you download an audible version, you can do it in your car to and from work or whenever it is most convenient for you. Prayer is for us, not us for prayer. God simply wants you to pray. There’s no need to be overly scrupulous about it.
That is so true. There have been times when I have been feeling sick and I click on to the iBreviary App and try to pray as best I can. Sometimes, I fall asleep half-way through, but, the intention is there.
Yes, there is an iPhone app for the iBreviary. I have it and I like it a lot. It also works on Apple’s other devices, the iPod touch and iPad.
I have a great picture in mind of perserverance at praying the Office.
I went on pilgrimage this past Christmas to the Holy Land with Fr Mitch Pacwa. We came back into that massive snowstorm at Newark. We were all stuck at the airport for many hours (I slept on the terminal floor, Fr Mitch got to a hotel room after midnight with some other of our group).
Anyways, five or six hours after our arrival, many of us were huddled in a waiting area, looking for hotel shuttles. The wind and snow were fierce, and blowing into the area every time the door opened (every 10 seconds or so). Hundreds of people were pressing about, milling about, shouting, shoving. There was Fr Mitch, an island of calm in the midst of chaos, standing there praying the Office. He had his breviary open, resting on the top of his suitcases, which he was using to block the wind a bit. This, after 20 or so hours of travel from Israel.
I picture that when I need some motivation to perservere in prayer.
I’m not trying to say that the OP, or anyone else, is being lazy or delinquent by not praying a particular office. Just that this was a real motivational example for me.
Remember Paul, there is no time with God. He appreciates our prayers. I am sure he does not look at his clock and say to himself “Paul is late with Lauds again today”.
Pax et bonum
It’s like falling asleep before you finish the Rosary. Your guardian angel will finish it for you.
Haha, yes that’s true! There are worse things that can happen to someone than falling asleep in prayer! Probably best way to nod off, in His tender arms…
As for the Office; I was sick last Thursday and Friday so I “dispensed” myself from having to say the Office.
I prefer to miss an Office when duty interferes, rather than saying an office at the wrong time. I believe the verity of the hours should be kept. While it’s true that Lauds was prayed very early in monasteries in earlier times, it has come to be a dawn prayer (it was actually the last little bit of Vigils and consisted of psalms 148, 149 and 150 but then morphed into its own separate Office).
If police duties, work, the need to tend to a sick child, preparing a meal for the family, looking after an elderly parent, etc. interfere, that duty substitutes for the prayer because work, done well and offered up, is prayer in itself.
My own “range” for the Offices, and my “normal” times are, give or take a bit:
Vigils 4-7 am, normally 5:40 am
Lauds 5-8 am, normally 6:55 am
Terce 8:30-10:30, am normally 9 am
Sext 11-1:30 pm, normally 11:45 am
None 2-4 pm, 3 pm
Vespers 4-8 pm, 6:30-7:30 pm (this one is variable and depends on traffic for my evening commute which is typically 1:15; I normally get home at around 6:30 pm)
Compline, any time just prior to retiring for the night, usually at around 9:30 pm.
And on Sundays I sleep in a bit so Vigils will start as late as 7 am.