Sunday, December 29, 2013

Managing Time With Devotions: Discovering the Liturgy of the Hours

The Angelus - Millet
If you know me at all well, then you already know what a hard time I have forming habits. I'm not and have never been the sort of person that is good with routines. Don't get me wrong. I have successfully managed to establish routines in the past... but I'm not that great at forcing myself to do things I don't like doing, so the circumstances have to be just right. I have to legitimately enjoy whatever I'm attempting to add to my life and it has to grab me on an intellectual or emotional level as well.

The last time I checked in at this particular blog, I was starting to explore Catholic-style devotions a little more and strangely enough, it seemed as if they were actually going to be things that became a part of my life going forward. However, you honestly never know with me. I could be really into the idea of something for a few weeks or a couple of months only to abandon it the next time my moods shift or something. I didn't know whether I'd feel the same way about some of those new concepts on a permanent basis or not, especially since some of my childhood and personal experiences left a really bad taste in my mouth in regards to Christianity in general.

At this point though, it's been long enough that I feel confident in saying I've formed a new habit. I'm still keeping up with my rosary and my bible study. I've even learned some new devotions and added them to my routine as well. I've chosen personal saints (which I'm sure I'll talk more about in future posts). I don't really feel ready for actual church yet (and being so introverted, it's quite possible I never will), but Seth and I watch Mass online every Sunday. I still am very much into my astrology and my more earth-based beliefs as well. Somehow all of this fits together beautifully and I've been seeing a lot of positive changes in my life and my general outlook since adding this to the mix.

The funny thing about these Christian devotions is a lot of them are teaching me to process and manage time in a way I can actually tolerate. The liturgical year has seasons that I've been paying attention to -- ordinary time, advent, lent, and so forth -- and different focuses are more appropriate at some times than others. The days of the week matter, especially if you pray the rosary. Even the hours of the day are important. For instance, the Divine Mercy chaplet is best said during the hour of mercy (3:00 PM)... and then there is the Liturgy of the Hours.

Yesterday, I tried the liturgy. Like... actually did it. I keep a very nocturnal schedule, so I started with Sext at noon and continued on with the other offices (every three hours) until I went to bed (None, Vespers, Compline, and so forth). In other words, I actually scheduled my time voluntarily... on a Saturday, no less. And I actually liked it.

What I did yesterday was a little more involved than I think I'd want to worry about on a regular basis, because you'd be surprised how quickly three hours really passes when you're busy, but I could certainly see praying a couple of the offices here and there as they fit into my schedule for the day. I found the way the prayers and hymns fit each time of the day to be really comforting and beautiful especially. I also enjoyed the fact that there's a focus for each day, so it seems like it's a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of where you're at as far as the liturgical seasons.

Oddly enough, my favorite part of the liturgy was the way it changed the way I look at and process time for the day. I tend to not think much about the ways the early afternoon differs from the evening or the middle of the night. Now that I work for myself at home and am largely free to design my own schedule, I know I squander time a lot more than I used to. I actually didn't do that yesterday and I think it would be good for me to keep looking for ways to not do that. I'd get more done and I think I'd be happier. I'd certainly feel a lot less like life's just passing me by, I'm sure.