While contemplating the Divine Office for an assignment for the Lay Fraternity of Saint Dominic, I was thinking about the purpose of saying these prayers on a regular basis and what it means to me – in my life – to be doing so.
I’m called to attend daily Mass as much as it’s possible for me to do so, and I did blog about that struggle recently, but the Liturgy of the Hours had been described by a Dominican brother as our duty to God, and not really a form of personal prayer, since it is a prayer of the whole Church.
I love the idea that I am praying the same Psalms as a great number of other Catholics around the world; I love the universality of our Holy Mother Church! There is no division when it comes to our liturgy and our formulaic prayers (which have an important role to play in our prayer life). When I pray “God come to my assistance…” I do so in unison with the Church. It’s a beautiful thing.
And I still struggle with daily Mass. I know there are days when
my own sloth prevents me I allow my sloth to get in the way of worshipping God within the Sacrifice of the Mass. And yet, I am finding myself missing fewer and fewer instances of Morning and Evening prayers. While part of this can be attributed to my investment in an actual book of prayer, it’s also due to me feeling comforted by the routine, calmed by the Psalms I pray regularly.
And this is what made me realize that these prayers are a way of holding God’s hand between Masses.
Between Sundays (if you’re not a daily communicant), it’s very easy to get lost on the path of life. Darkness sneaks up on us quickly, and suddenly we’re in the forest at twilight and the shadows jump at us. We can be distracted by shiny things, or by dark things, or just by things that keep us busy with ourselves rather than God.
But the Liturgy of the Hours, even if it’s just for morning and evening prayers, calls us back. It’s our Heavenly Father’s voice in the distance, showing us the way to the path we were on when we walked out of the parish on Sunday afternoon. And when we get there, hearts beating faster for the scary monsters we’ve seen, He takes our hand and brings us along the path again.
Heavenly Father, let me never forget that You have shown me the path to You. Let me always reach for Your hand to guide me so I don’t get lost.