I admit I get a bit frustrated, when I hear someone say that laity should just be content with the rosary, the Mass, and vocal prayer, generally some saccharine verbiage out of a prayer book published before 1950. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rosary (the Dominicans are rubbing off on me, even if I get more out of making them than praying them), but purely verbal prayer doesn’t always fill a need.

It’s one instance of that “Don’t you worry your little lay head *pat pat*” attitude that you see among the generation younger than me. While the Liturgy of the Hours is important, one of the reasons why I switched to Latin was because I found myself just spitting out the words as fast as I could, without really considering their meaning. The LotH is the prayer of the entire Church. As such, it should have relevance and speak to our lives. When it works, it’s uncanny how a particular psalm (usually just one for that day) speaks to something going on in my life.

But also it should be more than just the words on the page. There should be something in the words that points to something greater than us, which is the point of lectio divina. (Or should be.) Granted, I’m a barely-closeted contemplative, but I believe we’re all called to a deeper relationship with the Divine. Hiding behind pious prose isn’t going to expose us to that deeper mystery.

Others have written about how contemplation is a gift and a calling from God. If this is true, then what possible reason is there to restrict people from that to which they’re being called?


~ by Jen on September 13, 2007.

11 Responses to “”

  1. Who’s been telling you not to pray the LotH?

  2. Mostly holier-than-thou people who think laity shouldn’t do anything other than follow along with Mass and pray the rosary.

  3. I feel like a dummy, but what is the LotH?I like what Dom John Chapman said – pray as you can, not as you can’t. I sometimes try contemplative prayer, but mostly use imaginitive prayer.

  4. Sorry! Liturgy of the Hours.

  5. LotH = Liturgy of the Hours.LotR = Lord of the Rings.Silly people. Ignore them — they have no knowledge of the ancient traditions of lay piety.

  6. Helpful comment Crystal! I am a methodist and thus do not have a “LotH” problem, however, church structures, laws and discipline all over has a patronizing feel to it and i share your frustration. I sometimes feel that we are keeping people from a relationship with God instead of inviting them into it. love your blog

  7. LotTL = “Last of the Time Lords,” the final episode of Doctor Who for season 29/3. ;)Bugs: thanks! But I am a Roman Catholic. The people I have a problem with are the (generally under 25) crowd who are more reactionary than the generation preceding them. I’ve found only encouragement from the religious I know.

  8. It’s funny how different kinds of prayer speak to us at different times. Last night I heard of someone (maybe famous saint? don’t know) who just sat and said, I’m looking at you God, and you’re looking at me. I’m looking at you and you’re looking at me.I thought that might be a cool early morning, or late night thing. Just being there.

  9. That also reminds me of the story by Tolstoy, “The Three Hermits.”

  10. Garpu,The 19th-century, anti-modernist prayers of the various devotional practices have a sort of langauge that doesn’t do much for me anymore either. Th Liturgy of the Hours is a great form of prayer for lay people. Reading scripture is always a good form of prayer.I guess there’s a certain kind of centering, contemplative prayer I like. I like what my old pastor used to say. “I don’t care much for rote prayer. I prefer to sit and talk with God, and most of the time I find myself speechless.”

  11. Yah, I prefer contemplative prayer, myself. What good is talking all the time, if a person doesn’t shut up now and then?

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