Why pray the Liturgy of the Hours?

Lovely discussion by haligweorc from an Anglo-Catholic perspective of the Liturgy of the Hours (aka the Divine Office or Daily Office) as an “ordered and bordered” encounter with Scripture” that is complementary to the liturgy of the Eucharist and essential to the development of a catholic social conscience.

Through our attentive practice of the Daily Office, the psalms and canticles of the Office give us an interpretive lens through which we experience the rest of Scripture. There are three fundamental concepts within the psalter that are crucial and inescapable elements of the catholic social conscience. First, they show us the center—that is, they define a reality where all creation is oriented towards God and participates together in the mutual worship of God. Second, they emphasize the rule of law—that is, they emphasize that justice is a key attribute of God and that justice, righteousness, and equity must be central values for us because they flow directly from the identity of God himself. Third, they form us in the habit of empathy because they place in our mouths the words of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, and they invite us to see the world through those eyes, and to recognize the injustices seen through those eyes.

This third point is an important one easily overlooked by those who privilege personal emotional relevance as the key characteristic of authentic prayer, or who define prayer simply as “conversations with God.”

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