Liturgy of the Hours, A Spiritual Banquet
Bishop Barron's gift to the laity
As a Jewish woman entering the Catholic church, I longed to recover my traditions. I had left any formal way of Jewish prayer several years prior and had become a Protestant before God brought me into the Catholic Church.
The Church offered me a spiritual banquet to my heart’s content. The return of candles, the chalice, and fixed prayer healed an aching in my soul. Right away I looked for a formal prayer book to pray from and I discovered the Liturgy of the Hours, but I could not find it anywhere. So I went to a local Catholic store to purchase it.
The volumes were heavy and expensive. The lady at the Catholic store explained to me that there was just no easy way to get these to the laity. I could see the look of sorrow on her face, and I am certain she saw it in mine. I scoured the internet to see if I could follow along online.
Although there were some internet-based alternatives, I just couldn’t imagine praying such sacred prayers that were not on paper. The idea of coming to the temple with my phone and scrolling was abominable. I knew there had to be a better way to get my hands on those books, but after a long search, I gave up and tucked that desire into the back of my heart.
A couple of weeks ago that desire resurfaced. I was scrolling through youtube when I happened upon a video with Bishop Barron announcing that Word on Fire was going to be offering a monthly booklet for the laity of the Liturgy of the Hours! My heart swelled because I just thought that it was too good to be true- and at a price I could afford at seven dollars a month, I was in!
Word on Fire explains the Liturgy of the Hours in such an easy and succinct way:
The Church’s official prayer, and the highest form of prayer after the Mass. It is an ancient, structured way of praying Scripture throughout the day, focusing especially on the Psalms. It hearkens back to the Jewish custom of praying at fixed hours, a practice continued by the early Church.
And this is what I was missing- a disciplined, sacred way of praying. A going back to my roots. Praying with the Church Fathers and with priests and religious. A way to unify my prayer with the Church and pray for the world. A uniting of my heart to the sacred heart of Jesus.
I felt a sense of empowerment knowing that Jesus had sent this book into my hands, that He may have even chosen me to deliver this message to you. I think about how this book will unite my family in prayer and enable me to pray for those who have left the Church. It is the power of Christ in my hands.
As I find myself marrying my Jewish faith to my Catholic one, God is bringing me back to my beginning- Morning, afternoon, and evening prayer- placing that sacred pause in my day. Telling others about it.
Maybe you too have been looking for a more disciplined prayer life, or you have felt alone in your faith journey. Maybe you are discerning a call to religious life or to the priesthood. Maybe you are just an ordinary person who is trying to find a way to get closer to God. Liturgy of the Hours is your answer.
Check out the new Liturgy of the Hours booklet subscription from Word on Fire here and pray about making this commitment to God. You have been praying for direction. Liturgy of the Hours may be the next step in the direction that God is asking you to go.