Friday, January 18, 2013

But How Can I Pray THAT?

A few posts back I shared that I have been trying to pray the Liturgy of the Hours more regularly.  The pattern I have settled into over the past two weeks has been to grab my iPod when I do cardio in the morning and pray the Invitatory Psalm, Office of Readings, and Morning Prayer.  (Those 35 min. of stepping on and off a platform can seem like an eternity; but bringing prayer to my cardio makes the first 20-25 minutes fly by.  I kid you not; give it a try.)

Alright, cutting to the chase:  Earlier this week, Psalm 18 was part of the Liturgy.  I could enter into into the beginning of the prayer, “I love you, Lord, my strength / The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer ….,” but when we got to the middle portion, I didn’t feel like I should be praying these words:

He rescued me because he delighted in me.
The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless …
(Psalm 18:19-25)

See what I mean?  God has most definitely NOT dealt with me according to the cleanness of MY HANDS!  He has treated me infinitely better than I deserve.  I am most certainly NOT “blameless before Him.”

But the truth that came back to me at that moment was how the Psalms are ultimately the prayers of Christ.  Whatever King David meant when he composed the words, they can only honestly, objectively, be prayed by Jesus.  And the Father responded to Jesus’ blameless life and death by raising Him to new life –  “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place” (Phil.2:9).

So why does the Church pray these words in the Liturgy of the Hours and at Mass?  Because we are the Body of Christ (1 Cor.12:27)!  The Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours “is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father” (CCC 1174).

We can give voice to psalms such as Psalm 18 because it is Jesus praying in and through His Church.  The Body “does not separate itself from its Head.  It is the one Savior of his Body, the Lord Christ Jesus, who prays for us and in us and who is prayed to by us.” [1]

The mystery of Christian prayer -incredible!

[1] General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, No.7, Congregation for Divine Worship, February 2, 1971.


  1. How do you get the liturgy of hours on your ipod?

  2. Hi Kathryn - very easy, and absolutely free! The only requirement as to it being free however, is that you have Wi-Fi at home. Then simply go to this address:
    Thank you for the comment!

  3. Oh, I should add that if you do not have Wi-Fi; you can still go to that address and click on the link about purchasing an app to download the Liturgy to your iPod.