Episode 5 – How do I Pray the Liturgy of the Hours? – Praying the Liturgy of the Hours with Fr. Timothy Gallagher
From “Praying the Liturgy of the Hours “, Fr. Gallagher discusses:
The renewed Liturgy of the Hours offers five daily times of prayer: Morning Prayer, to be said as the day begins; Daytime Prayer, to be said in late morning, midday, or midafternoon; Evening Prayer, to be said in the evening; Night Prayer, to be said just before retiring; and the Office of Readings, a longer and more meditative prayer to be said at any convenient time during the day. Morning and Evening Prayer, depending on how they are prayed— alone or in a group, with or without singing, and so forth— may take ten to fifteen minutes. Daytime Prayer is shorter and Night Prayer shorter still. The Office of Readings may take twenty minutes, or more if one has time for further reflection on the readings.
The two “hinge” (principal) hours, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, follow essentially the same pattern. After an invocation of God’s help and a brief prayer of praise, the hour begins with a hymn. As a hymn, ideally this is sung, though in individual prayer it is often recited. Two psalms and a biblical canticle follow, each introduced and concluded by an antiphon. A short passage from Scripture is next read, together with a prayer of response to its message. A Gospel canticle— Zechariah’s Benedictus in the morning and Mary’s Magnificat in the evening— with its antiphon is then prayed. The hour concludes with intercessions for various needs, the Our Father, and a final prayer.
Daytime Prayer consists of a hymn, three psalms, a short scriptural reading, and a final prayer. Night Prayer follows a similar pattern, shortened, however, to one psalm and with prayers appropriate to the day’s end. The Office of Readings begins with a hymn and three psalms that prepare for two longer readings, one from the Bible and the other from a Church Father, a saint, or another classic spiritual writer. These readings offer daily nourishment for reflection and meditation.
The Liturgy of the Hours harmonizes with the Mass of the day. If, for example, the Mass is for the Second Sunday of Advent, then Morning Prayer, the Office of Readings, and the other hours will focus on the theme of Advent: preparing for the coming
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Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”.