Late last year I read some publicity around the the forthcoming publication of a new version of the Liturgy of the Hours, aimed at clergy and lay members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. These are members of the Anglican Church who have come into the Catholic Church and this new Office is designed to be the proper office for them, with the full approbation of the Holy See. The book is called ‘Divine Worship Daily Office (Commonwealth Edition)’.
Everything I had read about the book was very positive – the book itself was said to be very beautiful, as was the content, and it seemed to fit very well the needs of the group for whom it was published. Having had a long experience of praying the Catholic Liturgy of the Hours (or ‘Divine Office’), I was quite interested to see the book and to try to gain some familiarity with it, not least of all so that I could compare it the the version I am very familiar with.
I ordered a copy directly from the publishers, CTS (Catholic Truth Society) and this arrived (incredibly promptly) by courier the following day, which was yesterday.
The book itself is indeed lovely – just the right size for an office book, very well bound, with gilded edges and with clear type and font.
The content was broadly familiar to me – the general structure of the Hours it contains are not so very different to those of the regular Catholic version. I do note that while the Catholic version relies heavily on the Psalms and each Hours has a Scripture reading, this is reversed in a sense in the Anglican version – there are certainly Psalms aplenty, but the real weight is given to the Scriptures; indeed, the book contains the entire Lectionary, read over the course of a year.
I’ve read a fair amount of online material which very helpfully directs the use of the book, from setting up the ribbons to actually praying the major Hours of Morning Prayer (known here as Matins) and Evening Prayer (known as Evensong). The language of the Scriptures readings – the ‘Lessons’ – and the other prayers are very much in the tradition of the Anglican Church; and while not the language with which I am most familiar, it certainly has its own beauty, elegance and sense of reverence.
My intention is to spend a few further days becoming more familiar with the book and with the way the Hours are prayed – but so far, I like what I see; and especially the clear signs of how close we really are to our Anglican brothers and sisters.