A Layman's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours: How the Prayers of the Church Can Change Your Life by Fr. Timothy Gallagher

(Irondale: EWTN, 2019), 144

Part 1: A Prayer for the Laity

Chapter 1: Do Lay People Pray the Liturgy of the Hours?

Chapter 2: From Where Did This Prayer Come?

  • Remember, Jesus himself prayed the psalms, in which we encounter all types of prayer
  • Morning and evening prayer are the "original" hours: early Christians gathered in the church at morning and evening, and they memorized the prayers because they did not change (17)
  • Vatican II warmly recommends the LOTH to the laity
  • The LOTH is the Church's most significant answer in her tradition to the instruction to pray without ceasing (19, cf. 1 Thes-05 and Lk-18)
  • As Liturgy, it is the official, public prayer of the Church
  • A breviary is called such because Trent modified and shortened it (20)

Chapter 3: What Is the Liturgy of the Hours?

  • "Christ Jesus, high priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile that hymn which is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven." Sacrosanctum concilium 83
    • Jesus introduces us to the eternal song of love between the Holy Trinity...the LOTH is our association with Christ in singing that eternal hymn of praise (26)
  • CCC 1174: "The mystery of Christ, his Incarnation and Passover, which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly, permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours"
    • The LOTH brings the Mass to permeate the rest of the day (28)

Chapter 4: But Isn't This a Prayer for Priests?

  • CCC 1174 cf SC 84: The LOTH is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom (34)
    • Note for reading Vatican II: by nature the conciliar documents make the essential point without lengthy explication
  • Fr.. Ed O'Flaherty, S.J. recommends reading the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours during Advent every year; it is the best introduction to the LOTH (38)

Chapter 5: Is This a Prayer for the Family?

  • The LOTH is "the high point which family prayer can reach" (42, cf Marialis Cultus 54)
  • Praying the LOTH as a family is not an all or nothing proposal: start small and grow from there (43)

Chapter 6: What Have the Popes Said?

  • John Paul II and Ratzinger gave Wednesday audience reflections on the psalms and canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer (48)
  • The LOTH "presupposes an appropriate catechatical and biblical formation if it is to be fully savored" (John Paul II general audience 2001-03-28)
  • Paul VI approved the new form of the Liturgy of the Hours in Laudis Canticum
  • Remember that Jesus himself prayed these psalms! (52)
  • St. Ambrose: The Psalms are "medicine for our spiritual health" (53, source)
  • Pope Francis answered a question during an interview by opening his Breviary and referring to a passage in the Office of Readings from many months ago (56)
  • Pope Francis: "I'm very attached to the breviary; it's the first thing I open in the morning and the last thing I close before going to bed." (56)

Part 2: A Prayer for All Hours of the Day

Chapter 7: Prayer throughout the Day

Chapter 8: Meeting God in the Morning: Morning Prayer

  • "We pray the psalms, and in so doing we learn how to pray. The purpose of the Word of God is to teach us truth, but it is also to teach us how to pray." (67)
  • Scripture Memory Work: Jdt-08-27 (67)

Chapter 9: Finding God in the Day: Daytime Prayer

Chapter 10: With God at Sunset: Evening Prayer

Chapter 11: Ending the Day with God: Night Prayer

Chapter 12: A Time for Meditation: The Office of Readings

  • "As one prays the Office of Readings over the years, one assimilates the best of the Church's spiritual tradition: the Bible, above all, and then the many Church Fathers, Doctors, and saints, who form the richness of our spiritual heritage...The Bible comes alive for us and forms a part of our daily nourishment." (85)
  • "Personally, I am grateful for the ongoing 'osmosis' by which this teaching enters my mind and heart." (86)

Part 3: A Prayer in the Church

Chapter 13: "Public and Common Prayer by the People of God"

  • "The Mass is the 'jewel' that Christ has given to His Spouse, the Church. The jewel is set in a 'case' that enhances its beauty, the Liturgy of the Hours, which reflects the beauty of that jewel and extends that beauty through the hours of the day." (95)
  • The LOTH helps us celebrate the liturgical seasons, and gives new life the liturgical year (96)

    Chapter 14: How to Pray a Psalm

  • We can pray the psalms on three levels (106)

    1. As an expression of Christ's prayer
    2. For the Church and the world
    3. On a personal level

Chapter 15: A Prayer of Praise

Part 4: Beginning the Prayer

Chapter 16: How Do I Begin?

  • Cautioned against Universalis because of "the complexities involved in the translations" (119)

Chapter 17: But I Still Have Some Questions

  • Difficult psalms: "When we pray the psalms, the enemies for whose destruction we pray are Satan, sin, error, all spiritually and morally harmful influences, all sinful inclinations. War against and the defeat of these are the only appropriate response." (126)


Topic: Liturgy of the Hours



Created: 2023-12-22-Fri
Updated: 2024-01-30-Tue