The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Liturgy of the Hours

One of the great pleasures of my day is my time spent with the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily prayer of the Church. So often I find that praying the Hours and experiencing the readings it contains bring me back to reality and keep me from the both sin and stupidity...well, maybe not all stupidity, but the Hours have certainly had a positive effect on me.

As a deacon I am obliged to pray both Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) daily, but whenever possible I try also to pray the Office of Readings, a wonderful source of both Scriptural readings and readings from the Church's 2,000-year tradition. Although the Hours are a part of the lives of the clergy, I have noticed that a growing number of laypeople are now praying them as well. What a blessing this is for the Church!

If you would like to join the Church in its daily prayer, I suggest picking up a copy of the one-volume version of the Hours called, Christian Prayer. It's available in a number of different editions. The cost varies based on the type of binding. This one-volume version contains Morning, Evening and Night Prayer and will provide you with a nice introduction to the Hours. And if your parish does not have a prayer group that prays the Hours together daily, I suggest speaking to your pastor about starting one. The Hours are meant to be prayed in community, and if you can draw together two or more people for Morning or Evening Prayer, Jesus will be there among you.Your priest or deacon should be able to get you started by explaining exactly how the Hours are prayed in community; and there are also a number of helpful guides available both online and in print.

To include the Office of Readings in your daily prayer, you will have to make a larger investment and purchase the standard four-volume edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. Of course, if like me you have an iPhone, you can download one of many apps that will make all of the Hours available on your phone. Some are free while others are available for a modest cost. Although I can't say for sure, I would think some of these apps are also available for other smart phones.

To encourage the spread of this wonderful way to pray daily with the Church universal, I plan to post one or two passages from the Hours each day. I would hope that those who take the time to read these prayers and excerpts from the day's readings might also take a moment to meditate on them and apply them to their daily lives. You might have noticed that I also included access to an online version of the Hours in the right-hand sidebar of this blog under the heading "Breviary." Click on one of the Hours and give it a try. It's free!

I'll include those excerpts this evening. Right now I must leave and drive to Orlando to visit some old friends who are visiting from up North.

Keep me and Diane in your prayers...

God's peace.

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