Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Christian Prayer


A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the rhythm our devotional lives has taken on since becoming Catholic. (I am not just referring to Natural Family Planning )
One of the most beautiful devotions that the Church has for us is the Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office. The Liturgy of the Hours is truly the prayer of the Church for all the people of God: bishops, priests, deacons, religious and the laity (us). From New Testament times, the faithful of the Church have prayed at specific times of the day as seen in the Old Testament as well as the book of Acts and the LOTH has its roots in that ancient practice.

The mystery of Christ, his Incarnation and Passover, which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly, permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, "the divine office."46 This celebration, faithful to the apostolic exhortations to "pray constantly," is "so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God."47 In this "public prayer of the Church,"48 the faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized. Celebrated in "the form approved" by the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours "is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father. (Catholic Catechism)

So practically speaking, what does the Liturgy of the Hours look like? It is a prayer book that can be purchased as a four volume set (more often used by clergy and religious) or a more compacted version called Christian Prayer (more often used by the laity). I purchased mine used on Amazon.com and it is pictured above. When it arrived and I unwrapped it, it gave off such a beautiful scent of incense !
Do they all do that? At any rate, it is a collection of Scripture, prayers, antiphons, hymns and readings about the lives of the saints that correspond with particular feast days. There is a particular order to the way in which it is prayed and it is broken down into morning, noon, evening and night prayers. Sacred Scripture is the backbone, particularly the Psalms and the antiphons are often from the Psalms.
It is meant to be prayed communally but can be prayed alone as well. It is an awesome reality that as I pray the prayers in this book at the appointed times, I am communing with Christ along with hundreds of thousands of other believers simultaneously across the globe. Talk about a "communion of saints!"

Though most priests and religious are required to pray the Divine Office for morning, noon, evening and nightly prayer, I am not so devout or ambitious. I am hoping to pray the office for the evening prayer and readings as part of my devotional time . I am so tickled that the Church provides for us a way to remain focused on him throughout the day. I can't see how our devout non-Catholic brethren couldn't get into this too!
It is a bit daunting at first and I am having a bit of trouble getting the knack of the order. I had my pastor bless the prayer book after Mass tonite and he gave me a few pointers. If any of you have some pointers regarding its use or how it has blessed you, feel free to post.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Nancy said...

Good for you TJ! I pray the Office regularly and what I felt has been the most benefit for me is that it has put some much-needed discipline into my spiritual life. I did save up my pennies and bought the full set because I am fairly serious about it and for me it really is an investment for a lifetime. (I particularly appreciate having the complete Office of Readings at my fingertips ... much richness to contemplate there).

If you haven't already, I would suggest purchasing the little guide book that the publisher puts out every year. It lists the page numbers of the prayers for each day and it's very helpful, especially if one is a novice. Otherwise, you can take the number of the current week in Ordinary Time, divide by 4 (for the 4-week Psalter) and the remainder should indicate what week of the Psalter you should be in. This is week 5 so you would be using Week I in the Psalter.

Do what you can at first and maybe once you are really comfortable with the form it may encourage you to include the other hours as well. God bless!

February 06, 2007 6:30 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks so much Nancy!
You are a Godsend! I do have the st joseph guide, but maybe just need to spend more time with it.
Perhaps if I get into , I will invest in the 4 volume set. When I think about it, how much money I spend on such trivial things of little value when I balk at 120 dollars for something of such eternal benefits! Ah, God has to to keep working in me.(And maybe I will find a used set on ebya, amazon or half.com)
Thanks again

February 06, 2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger Bekah said...

The LOH was one of the first disciplines of the Church I initiated at my conversion. It came about one morning during the time that I was intensely studying Church doctrine for the first time that as I was waking I heard a voice saying "Vespers". I'd never heard the word, nor knew what it meant, but once I found out, I began praying the LOH. (For those who don't know, Vespers is the term for the Evening hour of prayer.) I usually do the morning prayer with my children, though we do it as it is convenient, right after breakfast.

First, check the calendar of the Saints. If there is a memorial that will change some of the antiphons or prayers used. If it is a solemnity, you skip the psalms and readings for that day and use the Sunday of Week 1 instead. Believe me, you get to know Sunday Week 1 really well.

If you can, pick up a used hymnal that has the Psalm tones. We nabbed one with permission when our Church changed to the Missalette format. By singing the Psalms, they really become a part of your being. I've woken up in the middle of the night with the Psalms resounding in my head.

February 06, 2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks so much!

February 06, 2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

If it costs too much to buy it all at once, it's probably possible to buy a volume at a time when you can. That's how I did it, using birthday and Christmas money gifts etc. to collect the volumes.

February 06, 2007 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

And another thing ... I found it good to take the time before starting to set my ribbon markers in the proper pages - it does cut down the amount of fumbling around. It took me a while to get used to the flipping back and forth but it's become a lot easier now with lots of practice.

February 06, 2007 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a devotion to this, too. Marvelous. Magnificently beautiful. God bless you.

February 07, 2007 12:35 AM  

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