A couple of months ago, I read an interesting article by a lady regarding the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. In it, she wrote –
“What is needed is a more profound, structural change which allows ready practice, memorization of texts, and the possibility of inculturation. Is this not what happened to the Roman Catholic experience of the Mass? Will it be the case that, in some liturgical future, an inculturated, assumedly simplified, version of the Hours will exist which will invite active participation by all the faithful? .. Wouldn’t it be better to practice the prayer of the Church in a new way—than to know it exists and willfully—even necessarily—choose to ignore it? In any case—I know I love the Liturgy of the Hours. I also know that I fail spectacularly at being able to pray it.”
The point she was making was that despite her love of the Hours, actually finding the time to pray it alone in it’s present form can be difficult. I empathised with the time part of her piece, and also with her self-directed question about whether this was an issue of comittment.
I’ve asked myself that question, too.
As I have mentioned elsewhere previously, I began praying the Hours way back in the 1980s and I love this form of prayer very much; it is beautiful and it lifts my heart and soul, and I know perfectly well that in praying it, I am doing as the Church asks – I am joining with her in offering the official prayer of the Church, for the needs of the Church herself and of all the world.
And yet.. despite all this, there are so very many occasions on which I don’t pray it.
For me personally, this is a reflection on me, not on the Hours themselves. Whenever I hear mention of the Hours, I open the book, check I am on the right week and for a day or two all is well. But only for a day or two. It is a cycle which repeats. This is not a reflection on my prayer life generally; it is only to this one prayer that my words apply.
Like the author of the article I read, I too have that sense of spectacular failure, and the sense of a lack of comittment. I need to work on that.