the owner strongly encourages families enrolled in the program to pray the Liturgy of the Hours
Excellent! One of the reasons the LOTH
came into being is because the Church wished to get the Office on the lips of the laity once again. As such you're on the right path with this one. As The General Instruction of The Liturgy of the Hours
says (no. 28):
"Finally, it is of great advantage for the family, the domestic sanctuary of the Church, not only to pray together to God but also to celebrate some parts of the liturgy of the hours as occasion offers, in order to enter more deeply into the life of the Church."
On those days I feel called to married life I dream about leading my family in the LOTH
. Had I a family, it would be the focal point of our day.
(he provides a weekly service for a small fee).
Do you mean he is offering to teach you guys?
I don't have the money for a set of these books
Then here is what you do until such a time you feel called to enter deeper in the Prayer of the Church/have the means: invest in shorter versions of the Office.
In fact, even if you had you said you possessed the finances to buy one or more full sets of the LOTH
, I would strongly encourage you not to buy them just yet. Work up to the full prayer just as a body builder does with weights. You should not jump right into saying the full LOTH
. There are seven separate times of prayer throughout the day which vary in their length. For one with no experience with the Office, if you try to say the whole LOTH
cold turkey you will burn-out in no time. This will be even truer if you're attempting this with your equally uninitiated family.
Start by praying parts of the Office one by one. I would suggest beginning with Night Prayer (AKA Compline) for a few months. It is the shortest of the Hours, with the least variable parts.
From there I would recommend that you add Morning and Evening Prayer (AKA Lauds and Vespers, respectively). These are commonly called the “hinge Hours” of the Office. These two prayers, generally said at sunrise and sunset, commemorate the sacrifice in the Temple (in addition to other themes). They contain a great deal of the days “flavor.” To use the example of a Sunday, the Antiphons are based off of the Mass reading for the week, and the Collect is the same as at Mass. Without getting into too much detail, for various reasons Morning and Evening Prayer are the two Hours the Church especially wishes us to say. Having hopefully mastered Night Prayer, Morning and Evening Prayer, while not identical, will come much easier to you.
For these first two crucial steps, there is available a volume called Christian Prayer
. This book has the full selection of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer for the entire year. I believe it goes for about $20 – 30, much more reasonable than the $140 for the full LOTH
The full LOTH
contains the Office of Readings and the Daytime Prayers, but we’ll save consideration of those for another day. For at least the first two years Morning, Evening and Night Prayer will keep your plate full.
At any length, look up Christian Prayer
on Amazon or get a few copies through your local book sellers.
If you’re really tight for money there is an even more condensed version of the LOTH
called Shorter Christian Prayer
. This edition, the one I first learned the Office on incidentally, has Morning and Evening Prayer for the Feria (“regular”) days in Ordinary Time, as well as the full complement of Night Prayer. It does try to have some seasonal variations. I would guess Shorter Christian Prayer
goes for about $15 these days.
from the little bit of reading I've done they seem extremely difficult to follow.
Naw, that’s mostly hype by people who do the Office for six months and give up. If you do what I say start with Night Prayer and then work up to Morning and Evening Prayer you’ll be fine.
You may wish to ask your priest for help in finding your way around. That being said, I have found priests are some of the worst culprits of cutting corners and playing fast and loose with the rubrics, so don’t necessarily take even single detail your priests says to be Gospel. They can be a help though. You may even find a group of Christians in your area who says the Office regularly.
I'm also under the impression that there is a big difference betw the LOTH and the DO.
Technically this is incorrect. The LOTH
is just the most current edition of the Divine Office. Hence on the title page of the LOTH
The Divine Office
revised by the decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical
Council and published by the authority of Pope Paul VI
Liturgy of the Hours
According to the Roman Rite
However, there are substantial differences between what could be termed the “traditional” (c.1962) Breviary and the LOTH
. However they’re beyond the scope of this thread. For my money, the old Office had it good and bad points, as does the new Office. The reason I ultimately continue to say the LOTH
is because if you find Ordained and non-Ordained Christians who say the Office, more than likely you will find them saying the LOTH
. The LOTH
is the normative version of the Office in the Latin Rite.
One legitimate counter to the above is if you attend the “traditional” (again, circa 1962) Mass. The headaches caused by saying the LOTH
and going to the Latin Mass as endless because the two use different Kalendars. That is something to take into consideration. Then again, old Breviaries goes for a higher price than even the full LOTH