Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Divine Office Polls: Results and Proposals

Recently the NLM ran two (non-scientific) polls which were intended to gain some insights into lay use of the breviary amongst some of our readership. The first poll simply asked the basic question about one's use or not of the breviary, and further the desire to do so.

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I rather suspected that we would particularly hear from those who do use the breviary of course, and not necessarily from those who don't, and that was indeed reflected in the initial poll results. However, this poll did give some sense of a significant enough number of people who would like to pray the breviary but as of yet are not doing it for one reason or another.

That led to our second poll which essentially asked the question, "so what is holding you back?" Here, I believe we likely can take the results as reasonably representative of the primary reasons which probably do hold people back:

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The top three responses were:

1. Need for instruction.
2. Need to establish the habit.
3. The question of time.

That these three were the top three really came as no surprise -- though of interest to me was how close one and two were.

Going Forward: An Apostolate for the Divine Office?

So what might this suggest to us and what primary action or activity might be derived from it?

Points two and three can be addressed by sharing our own experiences, insights and strategies of course -- I think of the latter particularly in terms of ways of helping establish habits; a point that is a struggle in all areas of life.

However, the primary take-away -- and points two and three could be included within this -- is a confirmation that there is a need for accessible, straightforward tutorials on praying the Divine Office in its two primary forms (the Liturgy of the Hours and the older Roman breviary).

Such a project is quite achievable -- with help; namely volunteers who are willing to dedicate themselves to work within this sort of apostolate on a regular -- i.e. daily -- basis.

I have formulated some strategic thoughts and direction on how this might be accomplished, in what amounts to the formation of an apostolate for the promotion of the Divine Office. What is primarily needed to manifest it, however, are the day-to-day "doers"; active volunteers who have an interest in:

(a) offering their ongoing, active expertise in the Divine Office to others;
(b) functioning day-to-day within the context of an apostolate for the promotion of the Divine Office.

There is also a need for someone can can offer:

- technical web-skills; taking design direction for at least the initial development and hosting of these resources.

Whether this will go anywhere will depend upon response of course. Needless to say, the primary characteristics of those who should think of responding to this are:

(a) a good knowledge of at least one of the forms of the Divine Office
(b) an ardent love for the Divine Office
(c) a desire to promote and teach about the Divine Office as an apostolate amongst the laity

Please contact me to discuss possibilities.

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