April 26, 2023 by eneubauer
I love using the Liturgy of the Hours as a tool to assist me in developing my faith. Within each volume, the content is well organized with plenty of scripture to meditate on in addition to the beautiful hymns, prayers, and, reflections from the saints dating all the way back to the earliest days of the Church.
The Liturgy of the Hours is based on the Psalms. There are five “hours” during the day: Morning, Daytime, Evening, Night, and Office of Readings. They do not actually take an hour to pray, each one can be completed in about 15-20 minutes.
Historically, the Church has embraced seven “hours” within each day to reflect on the centrality of Christ in the life of the Catholic. These hours are matins and lauds (usually counted as a single hour), in the middle of the night; prime, at sunrise; terce, 9 a.m.; sext, noon; none, 3 p.m.; vespers, sunset; and compline, bedtime.
During Advent, I participated in a retreat at the Our Lady of Clear Creek Abby. Participating in the “seven hours” of prayer, including two masses a day, was intense and wonderful at the same time. It taught me to reflect on prioritizing my time each day when I am NOT at the Abby. It reminded me of the importance of self-discipline, especially in training the mind to disconnect from the body and focus on meditation. It took time to clear away the mental cobwebs so that I could really enjoy meditating on the life of Christ and listening to the Holy Spirit.
I said that to share this reflection. During Advent, while meditating on the readings from the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6 vv. 4-25 really stood out to me. Let me share this excerpt, “Moses spoke to the people, saying ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.'”
There are a couple of lessons that I am picking up from this and other readings from the book of Deuteronomy. Lesson 1: The text makes a declarative statement that does not mince words, there is only one God that is to be worshiped, honored, and adored. I bring this up because we live in a world, not too dissimilar from that of the Old Testament (OT), which embraces a pluralistic vision that seeks to place all religions (the worship of many gods) on the same footing. However, a careful reading of the text makes it clear, that for Israel of the OT, there is only one God and the Lord is it. Lesson 2: There is a unique style within the text translation that I find interesting in Deuteronomy and throughout Holy Scripture. I call it the “if/then” statement. If there is only one God and the Lord is it, then (in the text above the word used is therefore) it seems reasonable to follow the directives in the remainder of the text. Lesson 3: What does the remainder of the text guide us to do? Well, it tells us that if this statement is true then we out to a.) love the Lord with ALL of our heart, soul, and strength b.) take to heart the directives within holy scripture c.) teach your children (+ others) the truth of our Catholic faith d.) to regularly share the faith wherever you are. People should know that you and I are Catholic.
For me, this has been a great reminder that if we say, “we believe” then there are some requirements on the lives of those who profess to be Catholic. In addition, it always amazes me just how practical the Lord is especially in the utilization of these “if/then” statements. If it is true that the Lord is God then the “instructions” that follow are reasonable to adhere to.
So happy to see your blog pop up this morning. Perfect reasoning for all of those “reasoning people” out there. Accept the one statement and you reasonable accept all that it means, step by step.
Thank you Raylene. Very, very good to hear from you.