Monday, December 7, 2015

Divine Office Guilt

The Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, is one of the best ways to fulfill the call to "pray without ceasing."

However, jumping in to that Breviary app can also quickly lead to the activation of our Catholic Guilt.

The first time I tried the Divine Office, I decided to take it on for Lent. I found that awesome website, and went from there.

Luckily, times were slow at the office and I was able to rip through the hours like nobody's business.

As I have tried to continue to be involved with the Liturgy of the Hours, with a growing family and an even busier career, I have found myself falling into a state of guilt whenever I would miss. Even though it can often be impossible, or at least nearly impossible, for me to knock out one of the hours in my busy day, I would get super hard on myself.

I felt like I was betraying God every time I skipped an hour.

At the same time, knocking the hours out also became a sort of check box, a task to be completed so that I could feel like a good Catholic.

I have seen some great ideas on living the Liturgy of the Hours, praying by the way you live your day and engage in certain activities that are a part of your vocation as the day moves forward. 

I like that a lot, however, for me that can easily become a sort of throwaway form of prayer.

"Yep, I fed my kids cereal before work...guess that counts as my prayer for the day. I'm awesome."

Instead, I want to try to focus on ditching the scrupulosity of the whole thing. 

Why can't I  be happy that I was able to get to one of the hours from the Divine Office done amidst a busy day, instead of getting down on myself for the three or four I missed? Why can't I see that God is proud of me for spending fifteen minutes in prayer while I was at work, instead of picturing him saying something like, "I died on the cross for you, and you waste all that potential prayer time on Twitter?!"

Why, indeed.

Our God is a merciful, loving God, who desires that all be saved. If only I could be as merciful with  myself when it comes to my prayer life. 

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