[The Liturgy of Hours – Divine Office – is available as a book/books; it contains, following ancient custom and uninterrupted tradition, a specified set of mainly Psalms, but also hymns, Bible verses, prayers in accordance with the liturgical year, which are prayed by the Church all around the clock all over the world.]
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“Why should people say an Office? The special value of the liturgy is that it is the official prayer of the Church, the voice of the Mystical Body in which all our poor voices intermingle with the voice of Our Lord and take on the quality of His prayer. This places liturgical prayer on an eminence above our own individual prayers.
A SUPREME FORM OF PURE PRAYER
But there is another vitally important aspect. In itself, and quite apart from that other official value possessed by it, the Office is a supreme form of pure prayer. It puts us facing God, using the words of the Holy Spirit. The Office is made up for the most part of the Psalms and extracts from the Scriptures, interspersed with lovely hymns, including the supreme canticles – the Te Deum, Magnificat, Benedictus, Nunc Dimittis.
Some of the verses are set in the mouth of God and some in the mouth of the person addressing God. Therefore it is a case of dialogue between God and that person. There we have the ideal form of prayer: a conversation with God.
IN THE ARMS OF GOD, LIKE A CHILD
Secondly, as the words are those of the Holy Spirit, we can rest content with them. We have not to distract ourselves by having to work out phrases of our own. We lie in the arms of God, just as a child would in the arms of a beloved parent, holding our effortless chat with Him.
Every line of the Psalms affords food for thought and love. There is literary beauty in them, not that this represents an ingredient that can be called vital; nevertheless, it is of help. All the emotions and the trials of life are covered. All the time we can readily apply the words to our own personal circumstances. Either we are pleading with God in regard to our necessities or we find He is replying to us about them.
The whole course of the Divine history is reviewed. The names of all the special persons and places recur. As we proceed we encounter the items of prophecy concerning the Redeemer and the Woman who is to be His co-operator…
COMMITMENT ABOVE AND BEFORE ALL SECONDARY THINGS
[The Breviary therefore offers] us all the ingredients of a perfect prayer. It does another thing. It commits us to half an hour of it daily. This commitment is psychologically important. It tends to ensure the fulfilment of the duty with regularity, fitting it into the daily schedule and not permitting it to be elbowed out by all sorts of secondary things. It establishes its own place in the life.
But a primary consideration must never be lost sight of. It is that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and an inseparable part of the plan of salvation. As the Council terms her, she is Helpmate, Advocate, Co-operator, Mediatrix. It is His will to do all things in union with her and to bestow through her His gifts and graces. If we desire to draw fully from that treasure we must be attentive not only to Him but to her also.”
– Servant of God Frank Duff