How to Order Your Home with the Liturgy of the Hours

Thomas More

There is an incredible amount of pressure on Catholic parents. Children are born into our homes and they need to be brought under order and good discipline. Without this, no virtue or devotion can develop. Fortunately, the Church has provided us with an excellent tool for ordering our lives: the Liturgy of the Hours.

Start the Day with Morning Prayer

When the children wake up, it is common for families to move to “breakfast” or to just start the day’s activities. This is a bad habit that needs to be prevented (or broken). Rather than this, make the family’s first activity of the day Morning Prayer.

Starting with the family gathered for Morning Prayer can satisfy a number of important needs. First of all, it allows you to get every day started on the right foot, focused on God and consecrated with prayer. Second, it provides for family culture, uniting your family life with the liturgical calendar of the Church. Third, it gathers the family and allows for a daily “morning meeting” before everyone gets to work.

Wake up get dressed, put a pot of coffee on and gather together for Morning Prayer. After prayer is ended, enjoy a cup of coffee, discuss the day’s plans, communicate any instructions or messages while everyone is together and then, get to work. Emphasize the need to work hard until the midday break.

Break at Midday with Daytime Prayer

After a productive morning of work, everyone needs a break. Start this break time by gathering again for Daytime Prayer. After Prayer, give the kids some recess time to get some fresh air, stretch their legs and get their blood pumping a little. Then, have lunch together before getting back to work for the afternoon. Emphasize the need to work hard until the evening break.

Close the Day with Evening Prayer

After completing the afternoon work period, mark the end of the work day by gathering again for Evening Prayer. Use this time to give thanks for the work day, to confess time and opportunities wasted and to consecrate the evening hours to God.

After prayer, use the gathering time to assign tasks to help get all of the household chores done, prepare dinner and enjoy a family meal together. After dinner, emphasize the need to make good use of the evening hours and not allow them to be wasted in idleness.

Prepare for Bed with Night Prayer

When it’s time to quiet the house and get the kids to bed, mark the end of the day with Night Prayer. Quiet the house, dim the lights and gather for the final prayers of the day. Take some time to make an examination of conscience, recite the office and get the kids to bed. Make sure it is clear that the house is to be quiet after Night Prayer: lights off, voices hushed, everyone quiet, in bed.

This isn’t likely to be time for Mom and Dad to get to bed, but the kids should learn to be quiet from the end of Night Prayer until Morning Prayer the next day. This is why Morning Prayer opens with, “Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare thy praise.”

Mom and Dad can move to an area of the house where some lights can remain on to avoid keeping the kids up. (This quiet night work time is our favorite time of the day.)

Enjoy your own Quiet Time with the Office of Readings

If you would like to cultivate your own private devotional time, you can find a source for that in the Office of Readings. The Office of Readings is a part of the Liturgy of the Hours that can be recited at any time of the day, making it perfect for quiet devotional use. Whether you’re an early bird and would like to pray before the house wakes up, or a night owl and would like to pray after the house quiets down, the Office of Readings provides you with the perfect solution for your private devotion.

The Liturgy of the Hours provides Catholic families with the perfect foundation for household order and discipline. If you would like to discuss the practical details of how the Liturgy of the Hours can be used in your home, please contact me, any time.

God bless your families,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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