Sunday, December 4, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Pray the Hours, Re-Visited

 Catholic Exchange has brought so many new readers to this blog that it seems like a good idea to re-post a few items from the archives for the sake of those who are new to the Liturgy of the Hours. Or just thinking about starting to pray  the Liturgy of the Hours.

For the sake of veteran readers, I usually revise old posts a little before reissuing, and this is no exception. That's why it's now Top 12 rather than 10.

So here's some mighty good  reasons for starting a Divine Office habit, or persevering in one you already have:

1. You get both daily Scripture reading and prayer done at the same time.

2. It takes less than ten minutes  each for the hours of morning, evening, and night prayer if you're reading it by yourself rather than chanting it in a monastery. (An "hour" never went by so quickly!)

3. If you can't get to daily mass it's the best substitute because just  like the Mass, the Divine Office is also the liturgy of the Church. Each day's Mass and Hours are designed to fit together into a unified whole.If you do go to daily mass, the Divine Office will keep you immersed in the mass all day. Or, as it has been said, "The mass is the jewel, the Liturgy of the Hours is its setting."

4. By praying the Divine Office you are joining in the universal prayer of the Church being offered by your brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world, of every station in life, of every people and nation.

5. You will be praying the  exact same prayers Pope Benedict prays every day.

6. You will be  participating in a tradition that is nearly as old as the Church itself. In the book of Acts, the apostles, following Jewish tradition, went to the temple to pray at specific hours of the day. The Liturgy of the Hours grew from that.

7. If you pray the Office on a regular basis, you will find that you have memorized lots of the psalms and other scripture passages painlessly, and these will influence your more personal prayers as well.

8. Once you are accomplished at flipping about in a breviary, your fellow Catholic geeks  will be impressed.

9.You will acquire a cool vocabulary that includes words like breviary, vespers, Te Deum, compline, and antiphon.

10. You will be praying "with the same words used by Jesus, present for millenia in the prayer of Israel and of the Church." (Pope John Paul II)

11. You will be performing a liturgical act that does not require the presence of a priest, instead exercising the priesthood of the laity and joining your praise to that which Jesus, the great High Priest, offers to His Father.

12. You will be fulfilling the wish of  Pope Benedict that all Catholics become "accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline." (general audience, November 16, 2011)