Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Liturgical Prayer of the Church.

Every true prayer is a prayer of the Church; by means of that prayer the Church prays, since it is the Holy Spirit living in the Church, Who in every single soul 'prays in us with unspeakable groanings'.  - Edith Stein
There is an interesting debate going on in the com box at Fr. Z's discussing the Liturgy of the Hours (liturgical prayer) as liturgical act, which raises the question whether or not laity can perform a liturgical act on their own, or is it necessary for a cleric to officiate?  (Did you know that The Liturgy of the Hours is an extension of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.)  A couple of the commenter's may have forgotten that many men and women religious, as well as members of secular institutes and secular third orders in the Church are also obliged to pray at least part of the Divine Office each day, or substitute it with another approved office or rule of prayer.  (Monastics are strictly obliged.)  Apart from the vowed religious, these are essentially lay people actively participating in the official prayer of the Church   Lay people do indeed participate in the liturgy of the Church.  It is the Prayer of the Church.  The prayer of the Church  is the prayer of Christ. 
It amazes me how people have to make everything so complicated and exclusive.
How many Catholics have even read the Catechism?
Speaking of which, this is what the Catechism says regarding the Liturgy of the Hours:  "The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God.  In it Christ Himself 'continues his priestly work through His Church'  His members participate according to their own place in the Church..." - CCC 1175
Roman Catholic people:  Read your Catechism.  Learn your Catechism.  And if you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, read the Introduction... the Decree (Apostolic Constitution Promulgation: The Divine Office Revised Ny Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council).  Don't just make this stuff up on your own.
If you do not own a Catechism, buy one.
Photo credit.


  1. Haven't been to Father's blog recently, but wasn't aware there was a debate on praying the Divine Office/LOH. As for the Catechism, I have several copies...I get them in the discount bin at Goodwill for 15 cents and give them to people I know who either don't have one or who could really use one ;) Many times they are like new - in unused condition.

  2. Anonymous6:55 PM

    ...which raises the question whether or not laity can perform a liturgical act on their own...

    the Liturgy of the Church is the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours...

    in the Sacrament of Matrimony, the Man and Woman are the 'ministers' of that Sacrament, and the Bishop, Priest, or Deacon are the official Church Wirnesses...

    in the celebration of Liturgy, no one participates in a liturgical act alone, in that Liturgy is "the work of/the prayer of the people"...

    Liturgy should always include scripture and rite/ritual...there is dialogue...

    even with the Ofiice, we do not pray alone, but with the whole Church, as the Office IS Liturgy...

  3. Anonymous7:08 PM

    from the constitution on the sacred liturgy/vatII:

    85. Hence all who render this service are not only fulfilling a duty of the Church, but also are sharing in the greatest honor of Christ's spouse, for by offering these praises to God they are standing before God's throne in the name of the Church their Mother.

    98. Members of any institute dedicated to acquiring perfection who, according to their constitutions, are to recite any parts of the divine office are thereby performing the public prayer of the Church.

  4. Monica - that is an important apostolate you've undertaken. God bless.

    Thank you anonymous for adding these clarifications.

  5. Anonymous9:06 PM

    i am anonymous because i have forgottened my username and password and hae to go back and root around in my e-mail to find it...

    and i enjoy visiting here everyday!

    everyone is pleasant and civil!

  6. Great post, Terry...I know, I know...always some 'hornet's nest' to hit:<)!
    You're the best!

  7. I love reciting the Divine Office--It is a beautiful way to start and finish my day..true I have to get up an extra half hour earlier in the morning and be in bed a half hour earlier inthe evening...such a horrid sacrifice :) And the graces that I've received are just incredible.

    I read along with the individual who records it on PrayStation Portable.

    I had to confront an individual, at our Ordination Mass last Saturday no less, who made the statement that "Seculars are just PRETENDING to be members of a religious order, and that we do what we do because we aren't cut out to be a monk or nun." Whever the hell did they come up with THAT??


  8. Sara: That's just rubbish...the teaching of the Church and the norms of the Sacred Liturgy, both the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours, make clear that "the whole Body of Christ" participates in the worship of God...too bad for them:<)!
    Good for you!


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