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Why Augustinians Pray the Liturgy of the Hours

Editors Note: this post is part of a series if posts titled Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

At the end of my first year of formation to become an Augustinian, I remember meeting with my spiritual director to discuss how to prepare for the next step: the Novitiate. During our meeting he said something that has stuck with me ever since: “Jeremy, in the Novitiate you will set the pattern you will follow the rest of your life.”

What my spiritual director said was true. In the Novitiate, I learned a way of life that includes a balanced pattern of prayer, study, contemplation, community, and ministry.

I feel so blessed to continue to have the opportunity to live that life today.  

While I have since had the opportunity to live in many different Augustinian communities and serve in various ministries, this pattern has remained consistent. Twice a day I come together with my community to pray the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours. Often times, I will pray the Liturgy of the Hours by myself at other points of the day. Each time I do so I am provided with an opportunity to pause from the events of everyday life and unite myself with the universal Church in reflecting on how the power of God is at work in the circumstances of the day.

The next series of posts will look at how and why the Augustinians pray the Liturgy of the Hours and how our experience relates to other vocations, including those who are married and those who are single.

To begin the discussion on why the Augustinians pray the Liturgy of the Hours and why we would invite others to pray with us, we can begin with the purpose of why Order exists to begin with.  

The Constitutions of our Order has this to say:

“The purpose of the Order consists in this, that united harmoniously in brotherhood and spiritual friendship, we seek and worship God and work for the service of his people. In this way, we share in the Church’s work of evangelization bringing the Good News to the whole world, ‘so that we may thus transform the world from within.’ This is our witness.”

Augustinian Constitutions, no. 13.

The Liturgy of the Hours becomes a foundation for achieving this purpose:  

“To preserve and increase unity among the friars prayer should never be lacking, for nothing other than common prayer is better or more suited to express and promote unity in charity.”

Augustinian Constitutions, no. 31.

This series will examine how praying the Liturgy of the Hours is central to preserving unity among friars. Yet, there is another dimension to be considered. That is preserving our unity with the laity.

“… it is recommended that we share our community prayer with the laity who participate in our spirituality and celebrate their faith together with us.”

Augustinian Constitutions, no. 86.

This series will also examine why the laity are called by the Church to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and how Augustinian Spirituality enriches this prayer for both laity and religious alike.

To that end, the next post will examine why the entire Body of Christ (ordained, lay, and religious) is called to pray the Divine Office.

Next Post: Why Everyone Should Pray the Liturgy of the Hours

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