The other day I was in a discussion with a priest about the clerical obligation to the Liturgy of the Hours. His opinion was that the obligation should relaxed or reduced. To his credit, he did not come to this opinion through a desire for laxness, but out of a concern for the souls of priests; if they didn't have time for this "overwhelming volume" of prayers, why burden them under the penalty of sin?
But are we talking about an "overwhelming volume" of prayers? Wanting to be scientific about this, I did an experiment, and timed myself. How long does it take to pray the daily Office?
(Times are based on individual recitation, without rushing, with adequate pauses for meditation (according to my taste, I'll admit) The American English LoH was used, with hymns substituted from the Liber Hymnarius. )
Office of Readings: 18 minutes.
Morning and Evening Prayer: 12 minutes each.
Daytime and Night Prayer: 5 minutes each.
52 minutes all together. A 'therapeutic hour.' Not so much, actually.
That's a new way I'm going to think about the Liturgy of the Hours from now on, as a therapeutic hour I spend each day with the Divine Physician. I know well how much I need it, and I bet that He knows even better than me.