Thursday, October 27, 2016

Liturgy of the Hours in an Unexpected Place

I absolutely love this article by a journalist explaining what the Liturgy of the Hours is, and what it means to him.  Even more delightful is where this essay appears--on a secular website devoted to current events and primarily--this month at least--to the American political scene. In fact, Paschal-Emmanuel's opening lines refer to that:

This election might have you praying for a swift death, or indeed the destruction of all life on Earth. I get that. I really, really get that. The campaign drives me insane, too. And when it does, I've found something to restore my sanity. I pray.

Then he goes on from there:

I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, perhaps the oldest liturgical practice of the Catholic Church after Mass and the sacraments. Indeed, the Acts of the Apostles record the Apostles observing the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day, the practice from which the Hours sprung. Although the Hours are associated with religious orders and priests, who all pray them, every Catholic can, and indeed is encouraged to, pray them. The Hours have been woven into the fabric of Catholic spirituality for centuries...

...There's no need to lead a monastic life to pray the Hours. I have them all on an app on my phone, and there is another app that pings me when I wake up, every three hours thereafter, and then when I go to bed. Praying each time takes but a few minutes...

Now here's my favorite part: 

Countless people are anxious to feel profound experiences through prayer, or worry that their prayer experience is "dry" or feels pointless. It is indeed possible to have spiritual experiences through prayer, the great masters tell us, but that is not what matters. Instead, prayer should be pursued simply for itself, as an offering to God. And the way to know whether your prayer "works" is if it makes you more like Jesus or not.
I don't think I've ever "felt anything" while praying the Hours. But I have noticed that, slowly but surely, they are changing me.

There is lots, lots more after that and I urge you all to read, and bookmark,the entire thing. For all my writing and speaking on this topic, I don't think I've ever given a better What it Is and Why You Should Do It  than this piece. Bravo!