In their theme of the day, the Archdiocese of Washington, DC posed this question and answered it:
“What is faith?
When God comes in power and reveals Himself to us—we listen. Faith means putting our entire selves at God’s disposal, our minds and hearts. But faith isn’t an exercise of our ordinary human powers. Grace comes before faith and prompts it. Grace runs along with our minds and hearts, elevating them from within to reach up to Him. Grace makes our faith perfect. Faith is a gift. ‘What do you have that you have not received?’ We are saved by grace through faith. Faith makes us pleasing to God.”
We are not only encouraged but have a filial responsibility to read God’s Holy Word, to listen, and to respond to the gifts of grace and faith. How can we incorporate this responsibility into our daily lives when they are filled to the brim with other responsibilities?
Make God part of the routine. We have dozens of daily routines from eating at certain times, to hygienic habits, and social and work-related conventions. Is there a cogent way to fit faith into the routines? The good news that’s been around for a while is that there is a way! All over the world millions of Catholics have discovered the beauty and devotional routine of praying the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as The Divine Office. The roots of this profound practice are to be found in the life of the early Christians who still observed the tradition of praying at various times throughout the day.
What makes this practice so appealing to Catholics?
The Liturgy of the Hours begins with songs of praise – how often do we take time out of our day just to praise God? With the help of this devotional Liturgy, we make it a point to give God our praise and thanksgiving. Along with these expressions of love and gratitude, the prayers gently guide us into mindful atonement for our weaknesses and we benefit from the reminders of God’s infinite mercy.
What does the routine involve?
Morning prayers include recitation of Psalms, scriptural readings and canticles, hymns and prayers. This routine progresses into a reading from Old Testament scriptures and New Testament epistles. Sometimes included in the daily readings are passages from the Second Vatican Council, theological treatises, or writings of or about the saints. The Office of Readings covers a lot of ground to help deepen our faith and respond to God’s grace. There are readings from gospels and concluding prayers to help us ground ourselves in the teachings of Christ.
Is it difficult to pray the Liturgy of the Hours?
Establishing any new routine takes some time and effort but once the practice becomes second nature, one feels drawn to the peace and comfort that these prayers can bring into our lives. The Liturgy of the Hours as a daily routine helps makes sense out of the chaos that often exists in life. Faith is a gift. Unwrap the gift God has sent us by opening The Divine Office. It’s a routine you can live with.
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