The Liturgy of the Hours, part VII – Unity and Universality

bow in prayer 2It is perfectly conceivable that there is someone, somewhere, at prayer right now.  But what if at, around five o’clock in the evening in every timezone, people are praying the same exact psalms?

This is another reason why I find the Divine Office so fascinating.  Just like in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the same readings and prayers are said all around the world, in the Liturgy of the Hours, the same psalms and antiphons are recited throughout the world.

Now, of course, this is not exactly true.  Some days, people would celebrate an optional memorial.  There are some days in which we celebrate important times and people within the Dominican Order that will not be celebrated at another parish.  But pretty much, the same psalms and antiphons heard in the main Church would be said here and in New York, London and Nairobi.

Open-HandsThe Church is praying constantly to her God, thanking God for being God.  Not because the Church was saved, or that we got what we wanted, or God did what we had ordered God to do.  No.  What the Liturgy of the Hours teaches me is that prayer has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Him. God ought to be loved and praised and adored for God’s sake, not because I get nothing out of it.

And this type of praise, this unconditional love that the Church tries to act out, is given throughout the Church’s day.

10388390_10152511232195962_1462370136_nPonder this: within the 150 psalms, virtually every human emotion is emitted.  Joy, hatred, sadness, humility, humiliation, thoughts about betrayal, loss and wonder.  There is even a pericope about God waking as though getting over a hangover. And despite this, or because of this—God is praised.  Through our drunken stupors or our joys of new life or the sadness of losing a member of our family, God is praised.  And He is praised throughout the day.

The unity of the hours throughout the Church, the Universality of the human experience to praise and wonder about our God.

I invite you to partake of our universal prayer.  Please refer here to the Church’s schedule.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!


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