Monday, June 3, 2013

The Liturgy of the Hours: A Big Help For What We Do

Have you ever heard of the Liturgy of the Hours? The Divine Office? The Breviary? Some of you have not only heard of it, you practice it (pray it) regularly.

Entering into prayer using the Liturgy of the Hours is often very spiritually moving. I am amazed at the depth of the prayers and how relevant they are to everyday living in the 21st century, especially with regards to the basic subject matter of paranormal investigating, and helping people the way we do. We deal constantly with upset human beings, who have many times truly encountered spirits of another world or dimension: angels, demons, departed souls of the human dead...they are all around us, yet our physical senses do not perceive them. To do this, we must operate out of a spiritual core in our being that is solidly in tune with our Lord Jesus Christ. The Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours is a great way to help with this.

The Divine Office is prayed by millions of people around the world, and is required of Catholic religious. Laity is encouraged to pray them as well. It is mostly a Roman Catholic thing, which I am, but many other Christian brothers and sisters also pray these prayers at special times of the day. I know that high Church Anglicans as well as some Lutherans pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I've never met a Baptist or Methodist Protestant who prays them, but I'm sure there are some who do. Of course, with a very busy working schedule on a swing shift, I cannot pray them all...actually no where near that...but I do try to pray at least one of the sessions every day. When one does so, he or she knows he is joined at that time by many thousands in his own time zone. Here are the names of the prayer times, with a little information on each:

Latin Matutinas Vigilas or “morning watches.” This prayer is anytime after midnight, but usually at 3am or at dawn. Their purpose is to reflect the vigilance of staying ready for Christ’s Second Coming, as “we know not the hour when the Lord will come.”

Latin Laus or “praise.” This emphasizes praise and the prayers are drawn from Psalms. Lauds are a part of and included within the other sessions, and include an Invitatory Psalm, the Psalms of the Day, as well as Complimentary Psalms.

Prima hora in Latin means First Hour. This is 6:00AM and is used to consecrate the day and to thank God for the nights rest.

Tertia hora, or third hour (9:00AM). The emphasis during these prayers is the Holy Spirit.

Sexta hora, or sixth hour (Noon). This was when Christ was raised up on the cross and so we remember Christy’s passion, suffering and sacrifice for our redemption.

Pronounced “known,” the Latin is “nona hora” or “ninth hour” (3:00PM). This is when Christ died.

“Vespers espara” – the evening star of Venus – an eventide call to prayer, a light in the heavens announcing the drawing on of the day. This is prayed anytime after None and before Compline.

Pronounced Complin, it comes from the Latin “complere” or to complete. This is the last hour of the day to be prayed, to complete the day. We pray for the dying, protection for the night, and surrender everything to God.

I've listed below some of my recent notes from my prayer times, of passages or prayers that especially moved me and spoke to me:

O strength and stay upholding all creation,
Who ever dost, thyself unmoved, abide
And day by day the light in due gradation
From hour to hour through all its changes guide:
Grant to life’s day a calm unclouded ending,
An eve untouched by shadows of decay,
The brightness of a holy death-bed blending
With dawning glories of the eternal day.
Hear us, O Father, gracious and forgiving.
Hear us, O Christ, the co-eternal Word,
Who, with the Holy Spirit, by all things living
Now and to endless ages are adored.

From Psalm 34
The angel of the Lord will build defenses round those who fear the Lord: he will come to their rescue.  

Romans 14:7-9 (St. Paul writing to the Church at Rome)
The life and death of each of us has its influence on others, if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.

Part of the Prophecy of Zechariah (John the Baptist's Father)
Through the bottomless mercy of our God,
one born on high will visit us,
to give light to those who walk in darkness,
who live in the shadow of death;
to lead our feet in the path of peace.

From the Lauds (praises)within Matins on 5/11/2013
Yea, angels tremble when they see
How changed is our humanity;
That flesh hath purged what flesh had stained,
And God, the Flesh of God, hath reigned.

Be thou our joy and strong defense,
Who art our future recompense:
So shall the Light that springs from thee,
Be ours through all eternity.

Here is a great Internet source for the Liturgy of the Hours:

No comments:

Post a Comment