Monday, July 16, 2012

Liturgy of the Hours, Element by Element






                   
Been over a month since I made mention of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. 
I've decided that updating  you  on my progress once a month wouldn't be overdoing the By the Way I'm Writing a Book routine. Besides, this is a request for assistance.

Chapters 1 through 4 are more or less complete. (There will be nine chapters in all.) These included the introductory ("What Exactly is this, Anyway?) chapter, the motivational chapter (Why should I want to pray the LOTH?), the resources chapter (types of breviaries,print and online with relative virtues of each, plus all the  tuturials and devotional commentaries) and the overview of the hours chapter (what each one contains and the time of day to say it.)

Now, after a week-long break to attend to some home redecorating projects and the resultant disposal of much useless accumulated junk that had been put off far too long, it's time to get back to chapter five. This one is called "Piece by Piece".  I'm going to take each element of the LOTH--from invitatory thru concluding prayer--and describe it's purpose and benefit.

Antiphons, for example, do so many things. During a special liturgical season, they relate the psalmody to that season. At other times the antiphons give us a theme or a focus as we pray the psalm. The antiphon relates the ancient hymns of Israel to the thing that we are doing with them. To illustrate: the second antiphon for today's Office of Readings is, "Offer to God a sacrifice of praise," reminding us that  with the Liturgy of the Hours we are fulfilling exactly what God is asking of us in Psalm 50.

If any of you have a favorite element of the LOTH, be it ever so small as the opening verse or the responsory after the reading, tell us here in the comments. Why does that element delight and/or instruct you? Why does it make sense (to you) for that element to be in the Liturgy of the Hours?  As I write this chapter, I don't want to leave out anything that will help readers get excited about the Divine Office. Naturally, I'll be integrating whatever the General Instruction says about the value of each element. But I'd also like to have the testimony of ordinary Catholics who pray the hours.

One more thing: please remember me in your prayers that this book will be written quickly and well, to the glory of God. Maybe add this to your intercessions at evening prayer. Hmm..."guide your servant Daria as she writes, that your sacrifice of praise may become ever more the prayer of the whole people of God."







17 comments:

  1. Praise the Lord you are putting together this book. We were just discussing the need to reeducate some of the members of the Secular Order on the LOH.

    My favorite element, besides the psalms themselves, is the closing prayer. The words beautifully close the prayer for that particular hour. This is especially true on Feast Days, Memorials, and Solemnities when we ask for the intercession of a particular saint or the attribute of a particular Mystery. I find myself reading them more than once sometimes. An awesome way to leave prayer and move on with our day!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa. Do you try to look up the new improved prayers that come to us via the new missal collects, or are you still fine with the old ones?

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    2. I am using a combination of iBreviary on my Kindle, my one volume Christian Prayer and the Carmelite Proper.

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    3. I use a combination of iBreviary on my Kindle, my one volume Christian Prayer and the Carmelite Proper.

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  2. My favorite part is the Office of Readings. I enjoy reading through the Scriptures. I especially like the second reading from the church fathers, et al. It is often so rich in theology and wisdom. I wish it lined-up better with the scripture sometimes.

    Are you writing the book for the 4 vol LotH or will it include Christian Prayer and Shorter Christian Prayer?

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    1. The book will describe every type of breviary, from 4-volume on down, with the pros and cons of each one. I'm hoping it will inspire those who use "shorter" to go beyond that, especially bcause of the Office of readings.

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  3. I love the Night Prayer, especially when I listen to it at divineoffice.org or on my phone. It's so peaceful and reassuring. The final blessing "May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death" reminds me of St. Therese who said God loves us even when we sleep. Of course she was talking about falling asleep during prayer time, but sometimes I drift off too.

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  4. I am a big fan of the New Testament canticles in Evening Prayer. Obviously a lot of them are very familiar, but In the few months I've been regularly praying the Hours I've developed a new appreciation for their poetry and power.

    Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

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  5. Hi Daria,
    I think that an important part of the Prayer is the silence I practice after the Reading. As an American Catholic, I don't think enough time is spent in contemplation of the Word. I follow the DivineOffice.org format and I think that even the little bell is appropriate. It answers the question "What did I just experience?" Anyway, it's a thought.

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    1. Glad you mentioned silence, since many people forget that reflection on each psalm is an important part of the Divine Office. The psalm prayers are meant to help with that reflection, so certainly anyone who takes the option of skipping the psalm prayers ought to fill in that gap with silence. I like that bell on divineoffice.org too!

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  6. Hi Diaria,
    Praying the shorter version lead to a desire to pray the longer version of the Breviary.

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  7. I just discovered your blog. I do pray your task goes well and goes quickly. I'm looking for a better teaching tool to use with our Lay Dominican group, and hope yours may be what we need. Onward!

    --Diana

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  9. Daria,
    I try to find and use things from my Office praying to carry into other parts of my day...to integrate LOTH with Work and Holy Reading. So, I use the 3rd strophe of the Invitatory Psalm (95) each time I genuflect at church before entering my pew..."Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our maker."

    -Doug Lyons

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  10. When is your book expected to be done?
    I am planning a class for our parish in the next few months to teach and drum up interest in lay use of LOTH prayer. Even hope to start a weekly (to start, maybe grow to daily) LOTH prayer session at the parish...in choir, maybe even graduating to some chant of parts. I'd love to learn from your book and add citations to your work. I'm startign to prepare my teaching notes now.

    Also, I'm sure you are aware of Seth Murray's book, Discovering Prayer? It was the first place I ever read that the Psalm prayers are suppose to be read/prayed after the Psalm-Doxology-Post Antiphon. Plus his book has a good section on Chant and Chant notation.

    -Doug Lyons

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    1. Hi Doug,
      The book won't be out til spring 2013--too late for your class, I fear. But feel free to make use of anything on this blog, such as the Getting Started tab.

      That's really neat about your genuflecting verse. When I'm at mass, during the Eucharistic prayer, I often think of the line from Psalm 63 that goes, "so I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory."

      Yes, I'm familiar with Seth Murray's work, and list his wonderful tutorial in the resources section of my book. I've mentioned it here in some of my older posts.

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