It may be helpful to have a private devotional routine, but Morning and Evening Prayer isn’t one of them. Herein lies it’s beauty.
The Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer is a prayer of the Church, so even if you say it alone, you are engaging in public prayer that isn’t just for you but for the salvation of the world.
Also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, the Daily Office, as we call it in the Ordinariate, is an extension of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When we gather at Mass, we are present both as recipients of the Holy Sacrifice and incorporated into that Sacrifice as the Body of Christ. In this transformed state, we pray the Our Father as the Son to the Father.
This prayer of the Mass continues with the Daily Office as we fulfill the command to “pray without ceasing” (2 Thess. 5:17). When you participate in this Office, you are the Body of Christ at prayer, and as such, you bring forward the grace of the Mass and sanctify the day. This, brothers and sisters, is a high calling.
While for centuries the Roman Church emphasized the Liturgy of the Hours as a particular duty of clergy and religious, in the Anglican tradition, the Divine Office remained an offering of all the faithful. This is the more ancient practice to which the broader Roman Church has more recently returned. A Divine Worship publication of the Daily Office for the US Ordinariate will be available before Advent, and with this will come more opportunities to pray the Office together.
Clergy promise at ordination to pray the entire Office each day. But even if you say only a portion of the office–say, from your St. Gregory’s Prayer Book, you can intentionally unite your prayer with those who recite the Office in full.
You don’t have to be concerned about whether a particular psalm or prayer “speaks” to you. Whether the psalmist speaks of anguish or joy, by praying those words in the Office, you are giving voice to someone who needs that prayer today. In this way, you are doing something much more than a private devotion–you are the Body of Christ interceding for the world.