Those of you whom have been participating in our retreats over the past few years know that we have incorporated the Liturgy of the Hours into specific prayer times. A few people have expressed surprise when I said that ‘after the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours is the most important public prayer of the Church.’ Note the word public. In Church life and lingo, something is public when it is done in the name of and on behalf of the Church. It makes no difference if you pray the LOH alone, as your parish priest mostly does, or with others, this prayer will always be public and therefore in the name of and on behalf of the Church. This is of course not to say that other prayers and devotions are not important. The Rosary, Litanies, and all manner of Chaplets are consoling and beneficial, helping us to keep focused on the Mysteries of the Lord’s life and enjoying the protection and care of our Blessed Mother.
While the lay Catholic is under no obligation to pray the LOH as a priest or religious does, it has the special characteristic of allowing all the faithful to practice the common priesthood they received through Baptism by offering a sacrifice of praise.
The most wonderful and awe-inspiring truth of praying the LOH is this: as we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, Jesus is praying! This prayer is ultimately an expression of the profound mystical union that exists between us, the Body, and Christ, the Head of the Church. All this to say that if you are looking to spend some extra time in a prayer that is highly beneficial for the Church, then I recommend praying the Liturgy of the Hours. This form of liturgy is meant to consecrate the hours of the day. Which hours should you pray? You may begin simply with the two ‘pillars’: Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. To assist you in that, you will find printable pdf files posted on our website. If you don’t want to print them, then do as I do, recite them off your mobile phone or tablet.
Another option is to download an app. The one I use most often is ibreviary.
As I promise you my continued prayers, I close with this thought of St. Augustine regarding the praying of the Psalms: ‘learn to recognize your words in His and His words in yours.’
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Joseph Barbieri, C.P.
The following link may be used to access the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day in a pdf format.
Office of Readings (Matins)
Morning Prayer (Lauds)
The hours known as Daytime Prayer include:
Mid-Morning Prayer (Prime)
Midday Prayer (Sext)
Mid-Afternoon Prayer (None)
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
Night Prayer (Compline)