“When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery… But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace… since in Christ Jesus whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference – what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.
Even after years and years of praying the Divine Office as faithfully as I could, I can’t deny that I still struggle with it a lot, still often do it out of obligation rather than freedom; out of duty rather than love. Even after learning so much about how beautiful a prayer it is, I admit that I still find it difficult to connect with the psalms and prayers.
On another occasion, God challenged me to stop praying the divine office. Yet again, He asked me what its essence is. I replied that it was meant to sanctify the hours, and join in the public prayer of the Church to pray for the world. He then challenged me to do the same in my own way, as prompted by the Spirit. So I did.
Everyday, morning and evening, and sometimes at various times during the day, wherever I walked, I started singing my own tunes and praying my own psalms. Other days I might sing songs that were written based on the psalms and scripture. As I walked, I would also be conscious of praying for the world, particularly those I would see along the street.
After some time, I realized I was no longer limited by the ‘assigned’ times of the liturgy of the hours, but I would be praying in my heart and through my songs almost all throughout the day. I started finding myself waking up and automatically saying good morning to God without having to say the words “O Lord, open my lips.” I find myself sanctifying the hours through my presence and spontaneous praying in a way that I feel most free to do!
Of course, I’m not saying that the Divine Office isn’t important. But I suppose I’m better appreciating the spirit and joy and essence of it, so that should I return to the Divine Office, I wish to pray it in freedom, love and joy, as I am doing it now through my own personal way.
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