From the Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours:
“To the different hours of the day the liturgy of the hours extends the praise and thanksgiving, the memorial of the mysteries of salvation, the petitions and the foretaste of heavenly glory that are present in the Eucharistic mystery, ‘the center and high point in the whole life of the Christian community.’
“The liturgy of the hours is in turn an excellent preparation for the celebration of the Eucharist itself, for it inspires and deepens in a fitting way the dispositions necessary for the fruitful celebration of the Eucharist: faith, hope, love, devotion, and the spirit of self-denial.”
Okay, so the Second Vatican Council teaches that the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the “Source and Summit” of our faith. There is no higher form of praise and prayer than re-presenting, and actively participating in, the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Remembering and being part of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Son of Mary—there is nothing better we can do with our time.
We spend one hour, more or less, on top of the mountain, but what about the rest of our day?
The Liturgies of the Hours and the Eucharist are intimately connected. They remind us of each other. They look back at each other. They refer to each other.
In fact, during the Liturgical Seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter), oftentimes, there are special psalms and antiphons for the day. Moreover, the antiphon for the Gospel Canticles (the Benedictus and Magnifcat) are taken from the Gospel of the day. The short phrase that sets the tone for the Benedictus and Magnificat is further shaded by the Gospel of that day’s Mass.
The saints have always called us to keep Jesus in the forefront of our mind. The Liturgy of the Hours sets this tone by referring to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the high point of our day, week, and life. When we step down from the Source and Summit of our faith, we do not necessarily have to leave the mountain. Rather, when we leave the Source and Summit, we can rely on the Hours to keep our hearts, minds and souls to point us towards the mountaintop, towards the Risen Son.
So ends our series on the Liturgy of the Hours. This is one of my favorite ways to connect with the Lord. I hope to see you in attendance at the hours one day.
Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!