Tiffany Walsh offers encouragement to try praying the Liturgy of the Hours during Holy Week.
Since re-connecting with my Catholic faith as an adult, Holy Week has come to be one of my favorite weeks of the entire year. Last year, during the Easter season, I wrote about how I had been working hard to maintain some Lenten habits that I had just cultivated during that most recent Holy Week. In particular, during Holy Week last year I started praying Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours each day, and it so spoke to my soul that I found weeks later that the habit had not waned.
Inevitably, as the year progressed, I did not keep up with this habit every single day, but still, I pray Morning and Evening Prayer with much more regularity than I ever have in my adult life. When I realize that I forgot to bring the current seasonal volume with me to work, I truly miss it. I know that there are wonderful apps that provide digital access to the Liturgy of the Hours as well, but the experience of praying with the print volume has special meaning to me. The physicality of holding the book helps to turn my heart and mind to my Father.
I think one of the most appealing aspects of the Liturgy of the Hours for me is that it is the universal prayer of the Church. While laity are not obliged to pray the Hours each day as are those called to the religious life, it is edifying to know that all members of the faithful praying the Hours that day are praying using this specific formula. It is a formula of prayer designed to lift us up and inspire us in our walk of faith. Each day is aligned with the liturgical season and any feast or saint recognitions, and each Hour is attuned to the time of day that we will be praying it. For example, Night Prayer soothes us with calming antiphons of resting in the peace of Christ, while Morning Prayer calls to mind the beauty of the breaking dawn in the Canticle of Zechariah. Knowing that my brothers and sisters in the faith are praying these exact same words as they contemplate the challenges they will face or did face that day helps me to truly envision being a part of the body of Christ on earth.
Back to Holy Week: It is not only the most swoon-worthy week of the entire year with all of the beautiful liturgies and the significance of what we are remembering and celebrating, it features magnificent selections in the Liturgy of the Hours! If you’ve never prayed the Liturgy of the Hours before, do a quick search and you’ll find several Catholic apps that offer them so that you can spontaneously decide to pray along this Holy Week. It is an experience you will not soon forget.
Do you pray the Liturgy of the Hours?
Do you do so throughout the year or seasonally? Which are your favorite Hours to pray? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.