Liturgy of the Hours

(NOTE: Newest thoughts are at the end of this continuous page.)

Liturgy of the Hours is a cornerstone Cistercian practice that I perform each day to place me in the presence of Christ. I don’t say prayers to become holy, rather I am holy because these prayers allow me to open my heart to Christ. It is Christ who is holy. It is only through, with, and in Him that I can approach the Father with fitting praise and glory using the energy of the Holy Spirit. This is a page that will offer you the Lay Cistercian practices that I do each day and some additional commentary on the official prayer of the Universal Church, the Divine Office. Some of you may wish to begin the discipline of the daily recitation of one or more of the seven hours of this public prayer. I am not advocating that you do these practices. Rather, I am sharing what I do as one who tries to adapt the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by Cistercian practices and charisms and the constitutions of the Cistercian Order (Trappist), as I understand it. I offer these as no expert in anything but as one who tries to seek God every day using silence, solitude, work, prayer, and practice to move from my sinful self to having in me the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5).

PRAYING THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS DAILY — If you wish to begin to recite the Liturgy of the Hours in your life, I recommend that you begin with the Morning Prayer. An excellent on-line source for the Liturgy of the Hours is http://www.divineoffice.org. With this daily site, you can recite the Morning Prayer by reading it off of your home computer or cell phone. Take your time in learning about the Liturgy of the Hours, it has been taking shape since the time of St. Benedict and his Rule (c. 540 a.d.).

http://www.divineoffice.org

FIVE PRACTICES THAT HAVE HELPED ME COMMIT TO PRAYING THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS

  1. When I think of prayer as part of my Lay Cistercian principles (silence, solitude, work, prayer, and community), I don’t see it apart from other prayers I do (e.g. Eucharist, the Rosary, Lectio Divina, and Reading Scripture each day), but rather it is inclusive of all of them. There is one prayer.
  2. Each day, I begin my day sitting on the edge of my bed and asking God for mercy for all my sins, failures to see Him in others, and all times I was just plain oblivious of anything except my own needs). I make a commitment to try to do better this day, with God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit helping me. This all takes less than one minute. What is important is that I do it every day.
  3. Before I begin my Liturgy of the Hours, I take a second to ask God to be merciful to all those I have included in my Book of Life, those who have died and I had added to this book and for all those in Purgatory and on earth who might need prayers but are not known to me. Think this task is too big for God?
  4. I try to recite three of the seven hours of the divine office each day: invitatory, Office of Readings Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer. During this COVID-19 shut-down, I recite these hours in private.
  5. I try to be conscious that this is the official public prayer of the Church (along with Eucharist) and that, somewhere in the world, a continuous chant of praise and glory goes to the Father on behalf of all humanity, asking for mercy for the sins of the Church, for forgiveness and reparation for all of our sins, help with the transformation from self to God, and finally to seek the God’s will be done with the presence of the Holy Spirit in this day’s happenings. None of these prayers are limited just to Catholics although the Catholic Universal Church prays them each day.

The music of Gregorian Chant

The following comes from a URL that is a bit squirrely with its selection (e.g. Gnostic hymns), but the rest of it seems to be authentic. If not, I need to know that.

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