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The Ordinary also has prayers that are repeated each day such as the Magnificat and Benedictus. These prayers are said at Evening and Morning Prayer and are typically memorized when prayed frequently. Until you have them memorized, you can always turn to the Ordinary to find them. After you have read the Ordinary, leave your first ribbon where it says Invitatory.


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This is composed of an antiphon and Psalm 95 and is typically prayed before Morning Prayer or the Office of Readings. If you are praying the Invitatory on your own, you will say the correct antiphon once, pray Psalm 95 and then recite the same antiphon at the end. When praying with other people, you will recite the antiphon after every stanza. Unlike the full version of the divine office, the antiphons are only printed once at the beginning of each Psalm. That means after praying a Psalm, you will have to flip the page backwards to recite the correct antiphon.

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This is important to remember and will be repeated in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, etc. The second ribbon to be set will be located in the front of the breviary in a section called the "Proper of Seasons. In this section there are special antiphons and prayers for the hours prayed on Sundays throughout the year. During special seasons such as Lent, there are specific readings and prayers for each day. It says on the top of the page, "Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Alternatively, you can order your own liturgical calendar that says what day it is in the Church year. This is an important part of the breviary as underneath the current Sunday, it states which "Psalter" we are currently in. It reads in the middle of the page, "Thursday, Week 1" and is where we want to be.

If you ever get confused on which Psalter you are supposed to be in, go back to the Proper of Seasons second ribbon and the current Sunday will indicate which one is correct. The fourth ribbon should be located at the current day for "Night Prayer," which is much easier to understand, as it only has a single cycle that is repeated each week. The fifth ribbon can be placed in the section entitled, "Proper of Saints," which contains the special prayers and antiphons for specific saint feast days.

For this section all you need to know is the calendar date to know where to put the ribbon. Once you have all of the ribbons in place, you can start praying the Liturgy of the Hours every day. If you ever get lost or confused, go to the "Ordinary" first ribbon and it will tell you what to do. But it was always something I kept coming back to. No other form of prayer has worked better for me.

I finally got straight in my mind some of the more obscure rules for which prayers one chooses for the various feast days, memorials, and optional memorials. Also, since I had to do a chapter on resources, I was really glad to become familiar with all the online resources—digital breviaries and tutorials—that are out there. The computer age has been one of mixed blessings, but one really monumental result has been the way the Internet has made the Liturgy of the Hours accessible to everyone.


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  5. Overall, it brought my awareness of the benefits of liturgical prayer to a higher level, two things especially: the way it connects us to the universal Church at prayer, and the intimacy with Jesus that it brings, since the psalms are the prayers He prayed while on earth, and continues to pray in, with, and through us as members of His mystical body. Q: For people who think they are too busy to pray the hours — how would you encourage them and where should they get started?

    What is the Liturgy of the Hours?

    Be faithful to that, and once that is a firm and loved habit, only then discern whether you should try adding more. Night prayer is the easiest to do using a print breviary, so unless you are just too tired to pray well at night I would start there. If you are a heavily scheduled person, or are just kind of scatter brained like me, then right away do whatever it is you normally do to remind yourself about important things: calendar, day planner, chimes on your mobile device, sticky notes over the kitchen sink, whatever it is that helps you to remember.

    Also, it might help to link prayer to some activity you always do: just before or after a meal; just before or after a favorite TV program; just before or after you read the daily newspaper. One more thing: podcasts of the liturgical hours at divineoffice.

    What is the Liturgy of the Hours? - Sum Nerdus

    You can listen and pray along while your hands and eyes are occupied. Q: When you have a week where you are feeling busy and overwhelmed by life, how does your prayer of the Divine Office bring solace and comfort? In so many ways!

    For one thing, the psalms speak to every state of the human condition: joy, sorrow, gratitude, fear, stress. So very often the psalms of the day seem to speak to my problems, and remind me that despite my difficulties, trust and hope are the answer. The whole Church needs prayers and liturgical prayer unites you to the joys and the sorrows of your brothers and sisters worldwide. You are forced to get beyond your own problems to lift up everyone in prayer.

    Daytime Prayer

    And you are reminded that despite temporary stressors, there is always something to be thankful for: creation, redemption, forgiveness of our sins, salvation. Most of all, stopping in my tracks five times daily prayer forces me off that hamster wheel of activity, into a space of peace and rest.

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    Visit our Book Notes archives. Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics.

    A beginner's guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

    Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.