Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Praying the Hours

All ordained men in the Catholic Church - Bishops - Priests and Deacons are obliged to pray the "Official Hours" of the Church.  Known as the "Liturgy of the Hours" or "The Breviary" - the Hours are comprised of five different sets of prayers which are prayed throughout the day. These prayers originated in the Jewish community and are for the most part based on the Psalms. The day begins with the "Office of Readings" which includes Holy Scripture and Apostolic Writings and prayers. Next is "Lauds" or Morning Prayer which includes Holy Scripture and prayers. Daytime prayers follows which has three sections - Mid-Morning - Mid-Day - Mid-Afternoon.  Next is "Vespers" or Evening Prayer which again consists of Holy Scripture and prayers. The day ends with "Compline" or Night Prayer.  Throughout the day - throughout the World - somewhere - someone - is praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  Bishops and Priests have committed to praying as much of the entire set as their day allows. Deacons make a promise to their Bishop at ordination to pray Morning and Evening Prayer.  Religious communities of Brothers and Sisters also pray the Hours according to their specific guidelines established by their respective Order. Something new - is the involvement of Lay people praying the Hours. These people pray the Hours either privately or in groups.  At our parish - the practice has begun in which - Adorers - people attending Adoration - pray Morning Prayer - Evening Prayer and Night Prayer with fellow Adorers.  Beyond that - the practice is growing. The effect is that the Holy Roman Catholic Church is being prayed for every single minute of every day.  Somewhere - at any given time - someone is praying the Hours.  Making it even more convenient to pray the Hours are new electronic versions.  Where the hardbound book form requires turning many pages and jumping from one section to another - the electronic form follows a straight forward format - making it less confusing and distracting to pray the Hours. The Vatican has approved the iBreviary format for the Hours. The app is free and is available for iPhone - Android - Blackberry and iPad.
Prayer keeps us connected with God - as individuals - as Church.  God devotes His constant attention on us and the World and it is only fitting that we as a body of believers should give God the attention He deserves.  As a committed Catholic Christian you now have the tools available to you to join thousands of other Lay people participate in the Prayer of the Church. Just as many pray the Rosary daily - now you can pray along with your Bishops - Priests and Deacons.

Deacon Dale