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."