So, you’ve a pink leather-like Christian Prayer ebook, or the abridged model Shorter Christian Prayer, or somebody bequeathed you the four-volume set, and also you’re one of many many who has tried to determine how one can pray the Liturgy of the Hours your self—and located it’s simpler stated than performed. This convoluted approach of prayer is finest realized by praying along with individuals who already understand how!
Instead of a traditional ebook you could possibly use a smartphone or tablet app, or you could possibly order Word On Fire’s monthly booklet-format Liturgy of the Hours. And in all honesty, if you wish to hit the bottom working a kind of could be the approach. But what if you wish to pray alone with the breviary (Liturgy of the Hours ebook) you have already got?
I wish to counsel that Night Prayer, a.okay.a. Compline, is the best level of entry for studying by yourself. If you later wish to study Morning and Evening Prayer you’ll grapple with fairly a number of extra variables, however will construct on what you’ll be able to grasp whereas praying Night Prayer.
I’m going to elucidate for the particular person praying alone, however it will also be superb for spouses. Unlike for the opposite hours that require you to search out your bearings within the liturgical calendar and in a 4-week cycle of psalms, all it’s essential to know to get on schedule for Night Prayer is what day of the week it’s—although it helps to know that “After Evening Prayer I on Sundays” means Saturday evening.
Pray Night Prayer simply earlier than mattress, even when you go to mattress at 2 a.m. Being decided to take action all the time even when you’re drained, out of affection for Jesus, is the way you create the behavior. Try to maintain the ebook the place will probably be helpful at bedtime. I do pray the opposite hours too so I’ve a breviary that completely lives in my backpack, whereas I’ve a separate Night Prayer book at my mattress. That approach every ebook is all the time the place I’ll want it.
Traditionally all liturgy is vocal prayer, even in non-public. Actually saying the prayers in a low voice will help hold your thoughts centered. In apply chances are you’ll learn silently, particularly, after all, when you could be distracting or disturbing others. All of the textual content you are supposed to say can be printed in the identical normal black font. Text printed in daring, pink or italic letters is just not a part of the prayer.
Standard editions of the Liturgy of the Hours don’t print the complete starting of the prayer earlier than each particular person “hour”—and that often throws the self-instructed particular person off their stride proper from the beginning.
Night Prayer goes like this: start by standing up (except doing so is simply too inconvenient or indiscreet), and make a Sign of the Cross as you start the prayer: “God, come to my help. Lord, make haste to assist me. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: because it was at first, is now, and can be without end. Amen. Alleluia.” Notice nicely, the doxology (the “Glory to the Father”) is translated barely in another way than it’s for the Rosary. We all the time say it that approach for the Liturgy of the Hours. And identical to within the Mass, we omit “Alleluia” from the Divine Office throughout Lent.
Keep standing! Next, as an integral a part of the prayer, there’s a little span of silence to look at your conscience for the day that’s ended. Even moreso than the opening phrases, this helps me to recollect the presence of God. As within the penitential ceremony of the Mass, humility and contrition are the fitting technique to develop into open to God in prayer. His nature is Mercy.
After the examen comes a hymn. Whereas a gap hymn at Mass is technically elective, the Liturgy of the Hours opening hymn is a real a part of its construction. There are official hymns within the unique Latin version however their English translations may be troublesome to sing (The Mundelein Psalterhas them in addition to chant tones for the psalms). Therefore, the generally used breviaries present us with hymns that got here from Mass hymnals; Christian Prayer is the one one of many Catholic Book Publishing Company breviaries that features musical notation for these hymns. Feel free to choose an appropriate hymn . It’s acceptable to simply recite the phrases. Substituting an applicable Catholic poem is even an possibility.
Now, sit down. The core of the Liturgy of the Hours is praying the Psalms. Night Prayer has fewer psalms than different hours. We’re drained, so it feels merciful to hope only one psalm. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there are two psalms.
Each psalm has an antiphon, which is vital for the newbie to know: first say the antiphon, then pray the psalm, then optionally make a wholesome transient pause for silent reflection on the psalm you simply stated, then say the doxology, “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, because it was at first, is now and can be without end. Amen” (no Alleluia). Then, despite the fact that among the books solely print the antiphon earlier than the psalm, we should say the antiphon once more. The antiphon bookends every psalm. The repetition of the antiphon appears meant to interrupt our linear procession towards the subsequent factor, to assist hold us in a reflective perspective, persevering with to think about what we’re saying and to Whom we’re saying it.
Next there’s a (very) brief Scripture studying (by no means prefaced with any phrases of introduction), adopted by a brief responsory. You say and linger with the phrases Jesus says to His Father from the Cross: “Into your fingers, Lord, I commend my spirit.” One of the comforting and profound issues about Night Prayer is that it may be understood as a non secular preparation for each sleep and demise by means of contrition and belief in God, which makes of bedtime a sort of peaceable rehearsal for a second we will’t anticipate the timing of however which we wish to stay nicely.
Like the “hinge hours” of Morning and Evening Prayer, Night Prayer then features a Gospel Canticle. Stand up—such as you stand for the Gospel at Mass. The Gospel Canticle has an antiphon and a “Glory to the Father” which work the identical approach as with the psalms. Your ebook doesn’t remind you to make a giant signal of the Cross however it is part of the liturgy to take action as you start to say the phrases of the Gospel, from the outdated man Simeon as he holds the toddler Messiah Jesus in his arms: “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your phrase has been fulfilled: my very own eyes have seen the salvation which you’ve ready within the sight of each individuals: a lightweight to disclose you to the nations and the glory of your individuals Israel.” I typically suppose with gratitude of gazing upon the identical Jesus within the Eucharist.
Night Prayer finishes with a Concluding Prayer, the Sign of the Cross and “May the omnipotent Lord grant us a restful evening and a peaceable demise. Amen.”
Lastly, pray an “antiphon of the Blessed Virgin Mary” of your selection, which may be the Hail Mary, or, particularly on Saturdays, the Hail, Holy Queen, or one other becoming conventional prayer to Our Lady.
Rest nicely within the peace of Christ!
Image: Peter Fendi – The Evening Prayer, 1839 [public domain].