I’m wondering how many people are out there like me who find that noon and bedtime are the best time for some version of the daily office? I’m just not a morning person. I’ve tried the morning office and I just don’t keep it up. The evening office is really intended for early evening, the fading vespers light, but this really isn’t a good time either. Now you might say well, make time, and I can’t argue with that. I think the best way to to maintain a rhythm is to find a program that fits in my (and your) schedule. For people who find their best time to be on the subway or light rail system, traditional morning and evening may be just fine. I’m in the snarl of traffic about then.
I just don’t find the noon office to be very satisfying. I often do morning prayer at noon, but this is not ideal either because morning prayer is geared for starting the day. By noon I’m often well into the frustrations of the day. So my long term goal is to produce a new book of hours. It would have four hours for the day: morning, noon, evening, and compline. My book of hours/primer would be in between the modern daily office and medieval books of hours. It would not have new lessons and psalms for every day like the daily office but unlike medieval hours, there would be a seven days worth in the book of hours. I’m thinking something like this:
- Sunday / new life
- Monday / creation
- Tuesday / action
- Wednesday / piety? (or piety and study?)
- Thursday / community
- Friday / penance
- Saturday / pilgrimage
There might be couple for special occasions also, like an office for the dead. By having a theme for each day, the normal seven day schedule could be changed for a particular need or perhaps for a minor feast day that fits say the theme for community better than the Tuesday office.
It would also be like medieval books of hours in that it would be intended for private rather than corporate devotions. The Book of Common Prayer is really intended for corporate worship that can be modified for individuals. This would be the opposite. Forward Movement’s Hour by Hour is a role model except that it keeps strictly to the BCP program. It will keep the flavor of the BCP but I expect there to be changes. For example, I expect there to be quotes from church fathers and saints, in addition to scripture. So what changes could be done to noon and compline to make them more equal with morning and evening, and better suited for modern life?