An invitation to the Office: a resolution for the New Year

When I was newly ordained, I struggled for sometime trying to construct a prayer life that was as satisfying as the one I had while I was a seminarian. Being part of an organized community that read the Daily Office daily made it easy to look after my prayer life. But when I was out on my own, I found it was much harder to set aside the time – and it was a different experience reading it by myself.

By my third parish (Trinity Church in Bethlehem PA), I was able, with the help of a larger staff and some lovely and faithful parishioners, to read the office daily when I was in the office. I wasn’t terribly consistent when I was away from the parish, but something that was like daily prayer was better than something that wasn’t close. And, having learned that particular discipline, I was able to keep at it in the years I served at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix and am still keeping that practice with the diocesan staff here in Rhode Island.

But I’m not satisfied with what happens on the days that I’m not in the office, when I’m not present to a community that keeps the discipline of the daily office. So this year, I’m resolving to be more intentional about my prayer practice, and to make it all work, I’m going to commit to using Derek Olsen’s wonderfully useful resource: St. Bede’s Breviary.

I know that Derek’s been working on upgrading the server and the configurability of his breviary for the past few years, but it was only recently that I took a moment to reconfigure my preferences (Rite 1, Prayerbook basic) and discovered how well it works as a prayer support tool. And now it has a mobile friendly page for the times when one is on the road and needs to use a phone or a tablet to access the lectionary. It’s so easy to use, and so easy to tweak to your own preferences, that there’s little reason not to make regular use of it.

So, I invite you to join me this year in faithfully reading the office no matter where you are. The discipline of a taking a few moments daily for regular silence and prayer has made significant changes in my life and who I am as a person. I invite you to join all the faithful people of God as we make ourselves present to God’s activity in our lives and to witness your own transformation in this coming year.