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LOH

 

Liturgy is an "action" of the whole Christ (Christus totus).... It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates and responds under the influence of Christ's grace within her.

From ancient times, the Church has had the custom of celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord's precept to "Pray Without Ceasing, at once offering praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.

The Liturgy of the Hours can be public or private. The main objective with the Liturgy of the Hours is to stay in touch with the Father from morning to night.

Jesus has commanded us to do as he did. On many occasions He said: "Pray" "Ask" "Seek" in my name." He gave us a formula of prayer in what is known as the Lord's Prayer. He taught us that prayer is necessary, that it should be humble, vigilant, persevering, confident in the Father's goodness, single-minded, and in conformity with God's nature.

Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication, pray in faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Christians are called to consecrate every moment (every hour) of every day to God. Without prayer, our faith becomes weak and the religious life begins to crumble. Beware of Spiritual decline. One cannot, in the long run, remain a Christian without praying, as one cannot live without breathing. At its essence, prayer is a lifting and offering of the heart and mind to God.

The Liturgy of the Hours helps and guides us in this task. The Liturgy of the Hours is not a sacrament, but with the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the other liturgical actions, it is the Great Prayer of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Among the earliest monotheistic traditions was that in which, three times per day, the people would individually or communally stop to offer prayer to God; morning, midday and evening and night. This tradition, a response to God's love and grace. continues uninterrupted to today in Christianity as the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Liturgy of the Hours incorporates the Incarnation, Passover, and the Eucharist as we celebrate the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours. Faithful to the apostolic exhortations "to pray constantly", the Liturgy of the Hours is so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God."

In this "public prayer of the Church," the faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized. The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God. In it Christ himself "continues His priestly work through His Church." His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives: priests devoted to the pastoral ministry, because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the word; religious, by the charisma of their consecrated lives; and all the faithful as much as possible. The laity are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests,

The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours harmonizes the praying heart and provides a deeper "understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms." The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. The reading from the Word of God at each Hour and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours, reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the psalms, and prepare us for silent prayer.

The Lectio Divina, where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration. The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather in a complementary way, calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.

Refer to the Following Links for Instructions on the Liturgy of the Hours and to begin a deep and meaningful prayer life:

 

Liturgy of the Hours Apostolate

Archdiocese of New York

Catholic Instruction

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