From the outside, one might look at the life of a Dominican Friar and think, ‘That looks like heaven.’ There’s a lot of truth to that; devoting our lives to preaching Jesus Christ is a blessing. But when you look at how we are expected to do that on a daily basis, you might be daunted.
Dominicans are expected to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in common, celebrate Mass as a house, pray a daily 5-decade rosary, devote a daily minimum of 30 minutes to mental prayer, share meals and recreational time, and shoulder the demands of regular ministry. For Dominicans, like anyone else, there are only so many hours in the day.
A group of brothers living together, like any family, will only succeed in carrying out this life if they plan intentionally to do so. A community’s Horarium is a written record of a house’s desire to live the Dominican Common life. A Horarium may look different in different Dominican houses based on the respective needs of each house. In all cases though, a house Horarium is a record of group of Dominican Friars saying, “According to this schedule, we all agree to fulfill the life-giving requirements of our Dominican Life to the best of our ability.”
Like the LCO, the horarium is administered mercifully. Dominican life is not used to wear brothers down, but to build them up, and help them to grow in holiness.