Divine Office Tips
#1
I have been meaning to pray the Divine Office for years and have now made it a goal to start doing regularly before the end of the year, even if I only do it in part.

But after having looked into it more, I am realizing that there are different breviaries for different rites?
We travel an hour to attend a Byzantine Catholic Church to seek refuge away from the local Novus Ordo masses around here. 

Part of my motivation is to incorporate regular prayer with our kids daily. And I loved the idea of “praying with the universal Church” but now I am discovering that some traditional Roman Catholics pray the old Divine Office.... 

What would you recommend we pray? I am afraid no matter which way we go there is going to be some liturgical confusion.
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#2
If you're hoping to pray in the context of a family, I recommend Compline. Angelus Press has very easy to use editions for the 1962 breviary, which is what the SSPX and FSSP priests use.

https://angeluspress.org/products/compline

They also have Vespers available for all the Sundays and major feast days throughout the year: https://angeluspress.org/products/vespers

If you don't know the flow of Compline or the other hours, using an online guide (https://divinumofficium.com/) or following along an audio recording is helpful ().
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#3
(10-10-2019, 03:11 PM)StellaMatutina Wrote: I have been meaning to pray the Divine Office for years and have now made it a goal to start doing regularly before the end of the year, even if I only do it in part.

But after having looked into it more, I am realizing that there are different breviaries for different rites?
We travel an hour to attend a Byzantine Catholic Church to seek refuge away from the local Novus Ordo masses around here. 

Part of my motivation is to incorporate regular prayer with our kids daily. And I loved the idea of “praying with the universal Church” but now I am discovering that some traditional Roman Catholics pray the old Divine Office.... 

What would you recommend we pray? I am afraid no matter which way we go there is going to be some liturgical confusion.

If you want to stick with the Latin rite, the 1962 Office is approved by the Church since Summorum Pontificum. Since you're not bound to the Office, you can pray older versions if you want, although the 1962, besides being official, is shorter.

Lauds and Vespers are the main Hours, but starting out, and especially with younger kids, Prime and Compline might be better, since they're shorter and change less.
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#4
If you're attending a Byzantine style Liturgy than stick with a Byzantine style prayerbook. It's kind of hard to mix rites and not feel somewhat schizo and disconnected.  I speak from experience.  

That being said there's nothing wrong with a Latin Rite breviary. In many respects the Latin style Office is stunningly beautiful and theologically rich, especially the old Benedictine Office which didn't suffer as much truncation and cut and paste as the Roman Breviary post Pius X. 

If you go Latin I wholeheartedly recommend the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal and to supplement it with the Lancelot Andrewes Press Matins book.  I prayed out of these for years, sometimes praying most of the hours daily.  It was very enriching and when I was a home aloner by choice it sustained me to the "communion of saints" like no other.  There's a reason St. Benedict required his monks to "prefer nothing whatsoever to the work of God"(Divine Office). 

Now on the other hand (and many might disagree)  I do not recommend mixing rites. I also tried that for a few years and it's just not easy because,  to be frank, the theology and "tone" of East and West are as far apart as earth and sky, not to mention the kalendars can be very different.  

Eventually it was a fellow tank member that talked with me and told me the same thing,  to just pick one Rite or style and stick with it. I chose the East and haven't looked back and feel much more grounded now that I've built a habit of staying within one particular style.  

For Eastern prayerbooks my favorite is hands down the "Old Orthodox Prayerbook" because it's got manageable morning and evening prayers, the full hours (1st-9th plus Typica)  the DL, several Canons, a full calendar of feast days and a lot of instructional material on fasting, etc. Granted its Old Ritualist Orthodox but in my opinion it's the best of the Eastern style books and I've owned and used the HTM Greek Prayerbook as well as the new and old Jordanville (ROCOR) prayerbooks. Neither of those compare.  Don't worry,  many Eastern Catholics use Orthodox prayerbooks. 

Good luck to you either way,  it's a beautiful work of grace that you're wanting to deepen your prayer life in this way.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#5
That's great you want to start praying the Divine Office. Habitually reciting the Office is really what keeps me grounded, both spiritually and in general life.


It is good advice to just stick with one rite, but with the Byzantine rite, this may be a bit difficult since the length of the Byzantine offices can be tremendous at times, even compared to Matins (the longest hour of the Latin rites). Using the morning and evening prayers in an Eastern prayerbook is probably the way to go if you want to stick Byzantine, any of the ones FB recommended are good.

Personally, I use the old Roman Office (1570) as found on the Divinum Officium website. I have prayed using Eastern prayerbooks and to a lesser extent the Byzantine office but I found that the only one I could really use consistently was the Roman Office. It's incredibly beautiful and theologically rich without being heavy-handed in the length, and you will also have more variation day to day than just praying the morning and evening prayers out of a prayerbook. 

For a family to use, Prime and Compline are probably your best bet.
"If your heart comes to feel a natural hatred for sin, it has defeated the causes of sin and freed itself from them. Keep hell’s torments in mind; but know that your Helper is at hand. Do nothing that will grieve Him, but say to Him with tears: ‘Be merciful and deliver me, O Lord, for without Thy help I cannot escape from the hands of my enemies.’ Be attentive to your heart, and He will guard you from all evil."

- St. Isaias the Solitary

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and stillness give the correct law to all under heaven."

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#6
Thank you very much for your responses. I love starting out with the Compline idea. And I really appreciate the advice of not mixing rites. We already are experiencing a lot of challenges in this regard and before was trying to juggle between the Byzantine and Roman rites but now that we are learning more about traditional Catholicism my head is really spinning.

We have formally written a request to transfer rites from Roman to Byzantine. It has been over a year since we made this request and have not heard back from the bishop. We have been told by the local priest that this takes a lot of time. So we will see...
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