Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Liturgy of the Hours

A very good topic came up on Church of Christ to Catholic Forums. It was about the Liturgy of the hours (you can access it by clicking the title of this post.) I agree with the comments being made there. By praying the liturgy of the hours, the official prayers of the Church universal, there are innumerable spiritual benefits. You learn about the Scriptures, about Sacred Tradition, you are able to read all the Psalms in a very small amount of time, to pray some beautiful prayers and intercessions, and hear the most wonderful Hymns and Gospel Canticles. Also, praying the liturgy in the morning allows you to dedicate the day's work to God, to focus your mind on spiritual concerns, and to structure your daily routine in order to get more done. Praying the Evening/Nightly prayers sets your mind in a good state before bed, gives you a chance to do an examination of conscience, and all in all creates the atmosphere for a good night's sleep. If you are out there and have never prayed the liturgy of the hours, I highly recommend trying it. If you go straight through without any meditation, the morning or evening prayers will probably take you about 15-20 minutes. You'll soon realize that the meditation comes naturally and you will desire it to take longer after just a few short attempts. Probably the hardest thing to do is learn how to use the breviary. Stick with it, however, and once you get the hang of it I promise it will be one of the most enriching things that you have ever experienced.

A sample canticle (Redemption Hymn from Revelation 4:11, 5:9, 10, 12

O Lord our God, you are worthy
to receive glory and honor and power.

For you have created all things;
by your will they came to be and were made.

For you were slain;
with your blood you purchased for God
men of every race and tongue,
of every people and nation.

You made of them a kingdom,
and priests to serve our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches,
wisdom and strength,
honor and glory and praise.

Also, if you do the nightly prayer, every evening will end with two beautiful things, an antiphon "Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace, alleluia." and finally an antiphon in Honor of the Blessed Virgin (Hail Mary, Salve Regina, or another of your choice).

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