I know a few of you have been doing some good liturgical work in your own homes with the help of this book. I really enjoyed chapter five, On Learning to Pray With a Breviary.
Chapter five starts with a summary of the precepts as laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but what I really liked was that with these precepts:
"Each of us will develop a personal plan, often called a rule of life, with this foundation."
Mother Church is so diverse. She offers so many personal paths for us to live out our faith. She really asks: What is the face of God this child of mine needs? And this face could be one face that we see throughout our whole lives or we can change yearly or weekly!
About two months ago I was reading about Mother Teresa, and this holy woman was exactly who I needed right about two months ago. This summer...the face of God I am seeing...the Liturgy of the Hours!
I am grateful that Chapter One centers the reader by sharing that the Liturgy of the Hours is an extension of the Eucharist in our day. I will admit that I have tried to pray the Divine Office before but I can see now it just wasn't the season in my life for it. I think that the Divine Office is fitting in so well now because it satiates a desire I have for attending daily Mass. It is just not happening with the littles...err...mostly a two and half year old little...
Praying the hours is not exactly in full swing like I want it to be, but how nice to be reminded:
"We must start from where we are, spiritually, and anything new should be introduced gradually with all our duties (including all the time and energy requirements of our station in life, such as the care of young children) in mind. So don't try to do everything!"
I have tried so very hard to balance community with what needs to happen in here, in this home. I feel a tremendous pulling in as I await this fifth little and yet, I can't help with each time we say evening prayer being pulled out in balance with the Church at large.
What I truly love about the Liturgy of the Hours is that I am participating in the prayer of the universal Church. This little domestic church is unfolding the hours with others in this world in a way that the so called globalization of our times can't even come close to.
"We know from history and from Scripture that our Lord Himself prayed the Psalms as an observant Jew. We know from the Acts of the Apostles that His disciples continued the practice. Thus, the Divine Office has always been part of the worship of the Church in some form."
Which reminds me....
I am in my usual literary...I have way to many books going on at once...mode. In the classics realm I am stuck in Purgatory. No really, I am in the ring of envy as Virgil and Dante are making their ascent. I was struck though, really, when I read the following:
That hour had fallen when the sailor bends
his yearning and his softened heart toward home...
When I began to let all sound slip by
as I beheld one spirit rise and ask
attention, with a gesture of his hand.
He joined his palms together, raised them high
as if he prayed, "I have no other care,"
fixing his gaze upon the eastern sky.
"Thee Before Nightfall" so devotedly
came from his lips, with notes so sweet, they made
me move beyond my mind in ecstasy,
While all the rest with sweet and pious love
followed the soul in singing the whole hymn,
holding their eyes upon the wheels above.
My friends, these souls in Purgatory were praying the hour of compline! Translator Anthony Esolen, in his notes, wrote that this is the closing hour of the day...and that "time in Purgatory harmonizes with the canonical hours."
I just fell in love even more. We are praying WITH the dead. We are praying with the WHOLE Church.
I really want to mark time even more...but a gradual start....very gradual.
The authors write, "So during the learning period, don't despair. As G.K. Chesterton said, if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
How BEAUTIFUL our meager efforts look to our Lord, He just loves that we TRY! And remember what FR Killian, a wonderful Benedictine priest said, "If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing...we share in the prayer!"
Thank you for reading! God Bless!
* I forgot to add my links! See my Little Oratories here on Like Mother, Like Daughter and listen to the podcast for the summer book study!