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Switch to Forum Live View Liturgy of the hours
10 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2008 - 9:22PM #21
Barzillai
Posts: 39
Br. John,

Me too, the Internet gives everyone a library unheard of before. Can you imagine what those early Benedictine monks would have been able to do if they had the Internet? I heard recently on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network for those who do not know of this channel — I know Br. John is a big fan) that virtually every ancient scroll that survived to the 700's has survived to today — thanks to the monks. Their contribution to the preservation of Western civilization is remarkable.

And, of course, they prayed the Liturgy of the Hours.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 8:31AM #22
Shaner
Posts: 1,596

Barzillai wrote:

Sandy,

Thank you for the question! This IS one of my favorite topics — the LOH in general and its ancient roots in particular. The 2500-3000-year-old history of daily praying the Songs (Psalms) of God’s people is perhaps the world’s oldest, daily religious practice. I even chuckle a bit at thinking that we might have been given a hint in the fact that largest book in the Bible and the book that occupies the center of the Bible just happens to be Psalms.

Anyway, that last part was just my own rambling, you asked about how far back the Liturgy of the Hours goes. Here is the reference I like it because it points to the growing practice of praying the LOH among lay people, which I believe will be a key force, central to the renewal of the Church that is talked about by the Popes:

The following is a quote from the Abbey of the Genesee Cistercian monks in Piffard, New York.

http://www.geneseeabbey.org/divine-office.html

“The official prayer of the Roman Catholic Church is known variously as Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Office, Opus Dei (Work of God). The roots of this prayer go all the way back to Jewish practices before the time of our Lord. This form of prayer was prayed by Jesus and his disciples. As such, it was carried over into the devotion of the early Christian Church and continues in an unbroken tradition down to our own day.

“In both the Jewish and Christian traditions, this work of God was the prayer of all the people, clergy and laity. Due to various circumstances however, in the Christian Church it soon became the particular prayer of clergy and monks for many centuries. One of the blessings flowing from the liturgical reforms of Vatican II is the resurgence of the Divine Office among the laity. For our purposes we will refer to this form of prayer as the Work of God since that is the traditional Benedictine term.”

+Peace to your heart,
John



Hello John,

Thank you for the wonderful reply! 

I had no idea its roots could be traced back to Judaism, or that Our Lord and the Apostles would have prayed a form of it!!  That's very interesting and in a way, comforting to me, drawing one closer to Christ as He prayed.  Its amazing that its this ancient and has withstood the test of time as a form of prayer, down to present, albeit changed somewhat over the centuries! 
Your enthusiasm for it is infectious, you have me seriously thinking about praying the LOH.

Thank you so much for all the information!

Pax,
Sandy

"Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of Eternal Life"
"Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 11:00AM #23
Barzillai
Posts: 39

Shaner wrote:

Hello John,

Thank you for the wonderful reply!

I had no idea its roots could be traced back to Judaism, or that Our Lord and the Apostles would have prayed a form of it!! That's very interesting and in a way, comforting to me, drawing one closer to Christ as He prayed. Its amazing that its this ancient and has withstood the test of time as a form of prayer, down to present, albeit changed somewhat over the centuries!
Your enthusiasm for it is infectious, you have me seriously thinking about praying the LOH.

Thank you so much for all the information!

Pax,
Sandy




Hi Sandy,

Thank you!

If you like a deeper spirituality, you are right that the LOH is often what draws people.

I think there is a mystery or something special that makes the Psalms a flowing spring for the Holy Spirit’s power.

From the Human Ancestors of Jesus. The personal accounts of the struggles and unbending faith of those in the human lineage of Jesus (the Jewish authors of the Psalms) makes it easier for us to feel a comforting kinship with these most ancient songs to God.

Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of the prayers and songs of the people who wrote and sang the Psalms, and they were the human ancestors of Jesus. These are the Songs that Paul tells us to sing. These were the songs Jesus loved. Jesus’s IPod had all 150 Psalms!

Before the Divisions. The use of the Psalms in daily song and prayer has continued in an unbroken chain of tradition from the days of antiquity before any division between Jews and Christians. Catholics, of course, but also Protestants can quickly feel an affinity with the various forms of the LOH (St. Benedict's, for example) that were developed about 1,000 years prior to Martin Luther’s publication of his Ninety-five Theses in 1517 which led to the Reformation and a split in Christianity.

For major parts of the LOH, the texts for the LOH are taken from times when those who acknowledged God’s sovereignty were in greatest unity.

The close human connection of the authors of the Psalms to Jesus the man and the core of the LOH being taken from sources treasured by Catholics, Protestants, and Jews as a common religious tradition fills the LOH with spiritual depth and power.

[SIZE=2]Or, stated differently, a source for drawing closer to God that has been used, treasured, tested, survived all attempts to stamp it out, and that comforted Jewish prophets, the 12 apostles, and heros and saints of the Catholic church, and Jesus as he prayed alone at night to God, and whose core texts date back some 3,000 years, might still have some use today! :)
[/SIZE]

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2008 - 9:25PM #24
Barzillai
Posts: 39
When the Spirit moves, it can be felt everywhere as this blog article from a charismatic Christian attests. The blog also includes an article on monasticism from Christianity Today Magazine giving a good overview of the influences in the past 20 years.

Blog Article on Monastic Practices :)
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 6:46AM #25
Mysty101
Posts: 2,025
[QUOTE=Shaner;424938]  Your enthusiasm for it is infectious, you have me seriously thinking about praying the LOH. [/QUOTE]

Hi Sandy,

It would be a great benefit and comfort  for you to pray the hours.  When you start (notice I said when ;) ) remember you are under no obligation to pray them, so even one section of one day (usually about 15-20 min) is better than nothiong.  I pray morning prayer far more often than the other hours, but I do try to check the non-biblical reading from the office.  ([COLOR="RoyalBlue"]bottom of this page[/COLOR])  These wonderful writings are seldom heard (unless your priest uses them for homilies at daily Mass :D )

SuZ
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 6:49AM #26
Mysty101
Posts: 2,025
Br John & John,

Thanks for all the info & links.  I do appreciate all your posts. We can tell from the number of views that many people are reading, and some may begin praying the hours!!

Love & Prayers,

SuZ
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:05AM #27
Shaner
Posts: 1,596

Barzillai wrote:

Hi Sandy,

Thank you!

If you like a deeper spirituality, you are right that the LOH is often what draws people.

I think there is a mystery or something special that makes the Psalms a flowing spring for the Holy Spirit’s power.

From the Human Ancestors of Jesus. The personal accounts of the struggles and unbending faith of those in the human lineage of Jesus (the Jewish authors of the Psalms) makes it easier for us to feel a comforting kinship with these most ancient songs to God.

Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of the prayers and songs of the people who wrote and sang the Psalms, and they were the human ancestors of Jesus. These are the Songs that Paul tells us to sing. These were the songs Jesus loved. Jesus’s IPod had all 150 Psalms!

Before the Divisions. The use of the Psalms in daily song and prayer has continued in an unbroken chain of tradition from the days of antiquity before any division between Jews and Christians. Catholics, of course, but also Protestants can quickly feel an affinity with the various forms of the LOH (St. Benedict's, for example) that were developed about 1,000 years prior to Martin Luther’s publication of his Ninety-five Theses in 1517 which led to the Reformation and a split in Christianity.

For major parts of the LOH, the texts for the LOH are taken from times when those who acknowledged God’s sovereignty were in greatest unity.

The close human connection of the authors of the Psalms to Jesus the man and the core of the LOH being taken from sources treasured by Catholics, Protestants, and Jews as a common religious tradition fills the LOH with spiritual depth and power.

[SIZE=2]Or, stated differently, a source for drawing closer to God that has been used, treasured, tested, survived all attempts to stamp it out, and that comforted Jewish prophets, the 12 apostles, and heros and saints of the Catholic church, and Jesus as he prayed alone at night to God, and whose core texts date back some 3,000 years, might still have some use today! :)
[/SIZE]


Great post John, you're very informed about the history of and behind the LOH!  Thanks for the information,

Peace,
Sandy

"Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of Eternal Life"
"Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:23AM #28
Shaner
Posts: 1,596

Mysty101 wrote:

Hi Sandy,

It would be a great benefit and comfort for you to pray the hours. When you start (notice I said when ;) ) remember you are under no obligation to pray them, so even one section of one day (usually about 15-20 min) is better than nothiong. I pray morning prayer far more often than the other hours, but I do try to check the non-biblical reading from the office. (bottom of this page) These wonderful writings are seldom heard (unless your priest uses them for homilies at daily Mass :D )

SuZ



Hi Sue,
aka Happy Grandma!

I get your not-so-subtle hint, lol.  Yes, I've decided to start praying them  and I thank you all for the information, links, etc.!  You've all been a great help to me,

Hugs,
Sandy

"Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of Eternal Life"
"Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 10:43AM #29
Barzillai
Posts: 39
I admire people who were raised Catholic. ;) But most often it is not for the reasons you might think.

As a former atheist for 37 years, and an evangelical for a good long while, and now nearly a Catholic, my lack of knowledge about the definitions of the words used by Catholics — and so many of them are in Latin — is a real hindrance. People who were raised Catholic already know the definitions.

I thought if there are any former atheists, former Protestants, who might be unsure of what "Liturgy of the Hours" means. The following might help.

Liturgy of the Hours means certain prayers to be recited at fixed hours of the day or night.


[SIZE=2]The Liturgy of the Hours is also called the Divine Office, or the Opus Dei (see, I knew Latin would pop up here) which means "Work of God."[/SIZE]

The above is the summary, read on only if you want more detail.

Liturgy comes from a Greek word for public duty a citizen performed for the state. As taken over in the Catholic church, liturgy means a public official ceremony in the Church.

So Liturgy is, in general, the public church ceremonies.

The term "Hours" refers to the idea that we praise God throughout the day. For example, "the custom of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night goes back to the Jews, from whom Christians have borrowed it. In the Psalms we find expressions like: "I will meditate on thee in the morning"; "I rose at midnight to give praise to thee"; "Evening and morning, and at noon I will speak and declare: and he shall hear my voice"; "Seven times a day I have given praise to thee""

From the New Testament we are reminded to pray without ceasing.

By praying at certain times of the day we are reminded that all of our time is consecrated to God and in those times we find a deeper connection to God.

For many people who pray the LOH, after giving you the basic facts, outlined above, they would also tell you that the LOH is a source of deep spirituality. There is often times of silence and quiet contemplation during or after the LOH.

And for those who wonder what is special about the particular forms and content of the Divine Office (LOH), there is a brief overview of the antiquity of this practice that can trace its roots back nearly 3,000 years, here -- which is link to my previous post on the antiguity of the LOH.

But everyone’s spiritual life is different, not all lay Catholics pray the LOH, and fewer non-Catholics do, so do not think that the LOH is a necessary element of finding and knowing God, it is not. Your path may lead in a different way and that’s OK. :)

Quotes in the above were taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Good Advice About Praying the LOH.


Brother John (another Beliefnet member) gave good advice on how to pray the LOH. His post is number 7 in this thread, but since there have been several other posts since then, it might help if it is reposted here too:


All the following is from Brother John
"Hey Pio,

I used to think that I had such a busy life that I didn't have time to pray, however, as others have suggested, you can adapt the LOH to modern day life. You have to remember that the LOH and others like it, were originally intended for life in the monastic communities not the home and work of the secular life. I'm sure if you checked out your local religious book store that you would find many books on "home prayers."



I know that working people find it difficult to set aside time, but could I be so bold as to make a couple of suggestions? You and I are friends so I know you will take it in the spirit intended.

Get out of bed a little earlier and pray ... you'll be pleasantly surprised how much of a difference this one little jesture will make in your day. Pray while driving your car (but keep your eyes on the road.) During lunch break ... some people have an hour, some 1/2 hour. If you have the longer version of lunch .. take 15 minutes to pray ... shorter version ... pray while eating! God doesn't care ... just pray. Evening ... (and you know what's coming) a little less time with EWTN and some time in prayer .. LOL.

It has been my personal experience that no matter how busy one's life is .. there is always time for prayer if you only look for it.

Blessings

Br. John

P.S. EWTN is my favourite channel and sometimes I just can't tear myself away."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 9:05PM #30
Barzillai
Posts: 39
Few lay people pray the Liturgy of the Hours, but more are learning about and beoming interested in this ancient practice.  Here is a map where people who pray the LOH can enter their location on a map --- kinda cool!:)

Map for Liturgy of the Hours
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