For many years now, even from my Anglican days, I have incorporated the Divine Office into my prayer life. Praying the breviary opens us up to more of the Church’s liturgy and intensifies our affinity with the mind of the Church through the pattern of psalms, canticles and antiphons.
Since being introduced to Benedictine spirituality before my conversion, I have used the Monastic Diurnal published by St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough. This is an affordable option for those who wish to pray some or all of the day hours in a format that more or less corresponds to the Traditional Mass. In fact, I think that it may have been my experience of meditating on the texts of the breviary that made me feel so at home with the Latin Mass as I was used to the internal attention to the texts.
For anyone beginning to pray the Divine Office, I would recommend that they start with Compline. The name comes from Completorium meaning completion, and it is prayed at the end of the day before bed. Where compline changes in the Roman Office, in the Benedictine Office it remains the same each day which can help us get to know the psalms and become accomatomed to the routine of liturgical prayer. The prayers speak of God’s protection from evil and provide the perfect end to the day- Finem Perfectum.
The text and chant of monastic Compline can be seen here and can be used along the recording below.