What is the Office for?

“The key to [an examination of the orthodox principles behind the divine office] is to replace the substantial question by the more important existential one: not what is the office, but what is it for? It is not surprising that misunderstanding prevails, not only in Protestantism but also in Anglican practice, when our whole approach to liturgical studies remains historical instead of ascetical, substantial instead of existential. Tons of paper, oceans of ink and millions of words are expended on tracing the sources of ancient prayers, examining the meaning of lessons and psalms, and arguing about revision on historical principles, while most modern Christians are completely bewildered about what the office is for, what needs it is supposed to fulfill, and how it should be used. I am not meaning to be critical of liturgical scholarship as such, for it is of much value; I am critical of the failure to supplement it by ascetical interpretation. A driving instructor may usefully begin a series of lessons by explaining how an internal combustion engine works, but that is not teaching someone how to drive a car; it is not facing the existential question of what the car is for” (Martin Thornton, The Rock and the River 99 – by way of the Martin Thornton Facebook page).
chi-rho
“Most modern Christians are completely bewildered about what the office is for, what needs it is supposed to fulfill, and how it should be used.”
My hope is that this Daily Office Anchor Society provides some small help to you in terms of how to use the office.
What more would be helpful to you? How can we as a group encourage one another in this ascetical practice?
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