Praying with Opus Dei — The ‘Norms of Piety’

As I noted last week, with St. Josemaria Escriva was developing the Norms of Piety observed by members of Opus Dei, it was almost impossible for a layperson to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  To start with, the Divine Office was in Latin.  Secondly, back in the 1930s we lacked smartphones, tablets, etc., all of which make it possible to avoid the use of a Breviary.

So St. Josemaria came up with Norms of Piety that enabled Opus Dei members and others to have an intense prayer life with the aid of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Let’s look at its components:

  • A Morning Offering
  • Mental Morning Prayer of 15 to 30 minutes
  • Mass
  • Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
  • Reading the New Testament
  • Angelus
  • Holy Rosary
  • Mental Afternoon Prayer of 15 to 30 minutes
  • Spiritual Reading
  • Examination of Conscience, Three Hail Marys for purity before going to bed

You can see how one could take these elements and develop a daily routine incorporating them:

  • Upon arising, Morning Offering
  • After making a cup of tea, Read New Testament for 3 to 5 minutes, use that text as the basis for Morning Prayer.
  • Daily Mass
  • Visit to the Blessed Sacrament at noon or after work
  • Angelus at noon
  • 30 minutes of afternoon prayer after work, before or dinner, based upon today’s spiritual reading
  • Examination of Conscience, Three Hail Marys for purity before going to bed

Hopefully, this three-part series has helped you see how you could develop a vigorous prayer life anchored around the other activities of your day.

Some people, of course, have additional opportunities for prayer.  A nurse or doctor, for instance, could do a short prayer or aspiration, before seeing each patient.

It is worth making the effort to develop a throughout-the-day prayer routine, to anchor it to other things you do.  But it is also important not to try it all at once.  If you are just starting out do just one thing.  Then next month, add one more thing until you finally have a complete routine that works for you in the way you live your life.

About Joel Whitaker

Joel Whitaker is a long-time professional journalist (Tampa Bay Times, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Bulletin, Institutional Investor, executive newsletters) and Catholic convert. He is the RCIA coordinator for his parish.
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