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Daily Prayer for the Modern Man

By Hugh J. McNichol
Catholic Online

On a daily basis there are many events for the Catholic believer to express faith. We know of the obvious…celebration of the Eucharist with the parish community. However what if the individual cannot attend Mass because of personal and professional obligations on a daily basis? The Liturgy of the Hours is the solution. The celebration of the Hours is something, which all Catholics are able to fit into a hectic schedule.

During the week, I celebrate Morning Prayer and Night prayer. Both of these Offices sort of anchor my day and set the expectations for the busy routine ahead of me.

Weekends are another story, with a different schedule and more time (at least perceived). On these days I like to add the Office of Readings. The readings offer an opportunity to contemplate scriptural writings as well as other writings by Church patricians and scholars. The rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours is something that cannot be expressed without feeling its intense depth of movement. The Psalms lead the individual to reflect on the mystery of salvation history as revealed in the Old Testament.

There is nothing more striking than the orations of the psalmist, which reflect everyday situations that we all find ourselves experiencing in our lives. Praise, wonder, grief and hope are the central ponderings of the psalmist. Through out the Psalms the psalmist asks God for assistance, proclaims His power and majesty, ponders his earthly and eschatological fate. We are the modern Psalmist. When we take time to pray, the ancient invocations of the Old Testament psalmist fall perfectly into line with our needs, hopes and desires as modern believers.

When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours we are indeed celebrating a Liturgy that mirrors the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Our prayers transcend time and space. We are joined in communion with believers throughout the world, the Body of Christ as we pray for the Church, each other and the manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

Even the structure of the Hours is parallel to that of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The proclamation of the Word, Christ present in logos becomes sublimely clear when we pray the Lord’s Prayer and pray the intercessions for the welfare of the Universal Church.

The prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours unites the individual in “ communio” with the rest of our fellow believers, past, present and future members of the Body of Christ. It is precisely in this spiritual and metaphysical unity that we experience Christ in prayer. We experience our common humanity, are touched intimately by Christ’s Incarnation and unite our hopes to the Mystical Body of Christ.

We are tempted daily to neglect prayer. The reasons are many. However the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours unites us with others in prayer, even when our harried schedules and lives conspire to keep us from daily praise.


Hugh J. McNichol  DE, US
Hugh McNichol - Author, 302 6339348




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