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Praying the Liturgy of the Hours
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours
A Personal Journey
Father Timothy Gallagher, loved for his popular guides to Ignatian spirituality, shares in this informative, inspiring volume his own experiences and insights into the daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, which he has prayed daily for the last 40 years.
All around the world, everyday, for hundreds of years, Catholics pray the psalms, and readings from the bible and from tradition, in a formal way called the Liturgy of the Hours. And like in any meditative practice there are blissful days and others that are just a dry challenge. What does it all mean? Can the Liturgy of the Hours, with its hymns, psalms, readings, and intercessions, become the prayer of every Christian—priest, religious, and layperson? Can it bring new energy into our spiritual lives? Fr. Tim shares his experiences praying the Liturgy of the Hours for the last four decades and invites the reader into the beauty and possibilities of this simple way of praying.
Reviews and endorsements
Father Gallagher writes a captivating account on the spiritual richness found in the Liturgy of the Hours. The faithful who have experienced praying with the psalms to be a challenge will be helped by Father Gallagher’s humble admission of his own personal difficulties with this ancient form of prayer. As Father Gallagher unlocks the depth of the Divine Office, the reader is led to understand and embrace this prayer of the Church with a renewed sense of appreciation and awe.
—Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours: A Personal Journey, by Father Timothy Gallagher, is a candid and moving story of a priest who discovers the power and promise of the Breviary. Both veterans of the Divine Office and newcomers alike will be inspired and encouraged by his humble journey of faith. Particularly helpful is the discussion of the Divine Office as a relational prayer of praise. Here, Father Gallagher artfully shows how praying the Liturgy of the Hours is never a private act, but one that intimately unites us to Jesus and His Church. I warmly recommend this book to anyone—clergy, religious, or laity—who wishes to pray the Liturgy of the Hours with greater attentiveness and devotion.
—Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
Father Gallagher has described an unfolding appreciation for the Liturgy of the Hours that names the experience of so many of us who have prayed the Hours for years. The growing number of those who are just beginning to know this prayer of the Church hear in these pages an invitation to be formed daily as prayerful disciples of Jesus Christ. We can all be grateful for this encouragement to reflect more deeply on the gift of the Liturgy of the Hours.
—Most Reverend George Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, NE
Fr. Gallagher’s book, Praying the Liturgy of the Hours: A Personal Journey stirred my interest right away and kept me fully engaged from beginning to end. Efforts to study the psalms and to understand how the Hours draw us into the life of Christ and the Church are needed from time to time, and always bring wonderful benefits for mind and heart. This is where Fr. Gallagher’s book makes a real contribution. I heartily endorse Praying the Liturgy of the Hours: A Personal Journey, and recommend it in particular for priests and religious, and for all those who want to grow closer to Jesus in their daily lives.
—Most Reverend Thomas Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, AZ
Both the newcomer to the Liturgy of the Hours, and those of us who have been praying the Office for years, will be genuinely enriched by this “personal journey.” For the person wrestling with the recitation of the Hours, I believe that Fr. Gallagher’s words of encouragement offer an impetus to renewal and a more profound relationship with Christ through the perennial prayer of the Church. In my own heart I feel a movement from the temptation of complacency of habit to a renewed desire to delve deeply and receive richly from this treasury of grace.
—Rev. Msgr. David L. Toups, S.T.D., rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, FL
As a priest of fifty-four years with multiple responsibilities in pastoral ministry, habit and over-familiarity unconsciously have led me down an uneven and at times bumpy path of simply “saying” the Divine Office. Father Gallagher attracted me by the very title of his book, Praying the Liturgy of the Hours. He tells us of his personal journey but only to prompt us to reflect meaningfully upon our own particular journeys into praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I highly recommend this book as a welcome travelogue into new discoveries of beauty in the word of God and wellsprings of nourishment that we may have missed along a well-worn path that we have all trod and that we continue to travel.
—Msgr. John A. Cippel, retired pastor of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL, and spiritual director, St. John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL
The Liturgy of the Hours is an “experience of spiritual growth.” Father Gallagher demonstrates this reality by providing us with his own experience of appreciating this “ancient but ever new” Prayer of the Church. The reader of this text will be able to resonate with Father Gallagher’s own stages and development of prayer. With very practical examples of growth, this book will be of help to all who desire to pray the Liturgy of the Hours with greater devotion and attentiveness.
—Rev. Gregory J. Hoppough, C.S.S., professor of liturgy, Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, MA
In this thoughtful and well-crafted book, Fr. Timothy Gallagher provides some very helpful clarification regarding the theology and spirituality that inform the Liturgy of the Hours. But his greatest contribution is the sharing of his personal struggles with the “office” over many years. His honest and searching self-examination will prove invaluable to anyone who has undertaken the responsibility of praying this great prayer of the Church.
—Father Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein Seminary and author of Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, Word on Fire: Proclaiming the Power of Christ, and others
I have prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for over forty years, and Father Gallagher has helped me find new depths in it, as well as offering paths to other ways of enriching this form of prayer. His sharing of his own journey and challenges in praying the Liturgy of the Hours is encouraging. I also appreciate that he gives witness to the fruitfulness of this ancient prayer of the Church for laypersons.
—Sister Linda Sevcik, S.M., regional leader, Marist Sisters
Father Gallagher’s honesty and ability to describe the joys and the challenges he faces as he perseveres with this spiritual practice are very inspiring and refreshing. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to engage fully in any Christian spiritual practice, as his insights touch on the same kind of experiences that most people face in their daily prayer. Delight, struggles to continue, boredom, and peace: these are all words to describe what happens to anyone who desires a continued relationship with God through prayer. Father Gallagher lives them all.
—Elizabeth Koessler, spiritual director, wife, and mother
In Father Timothy Gallagher’s book we listen to his personal and heartfelt struggles in saying the Liturgy of the Hours. He offers us workable techniques and suggestions that will help us learn not only to “say” the Hours, but to “pray” with them so as to make God’s holy Word our own. This book is a gift to priests and laity alike. Read it as you pray the Liturgy of the Hours. You will not be disappointed.
—Lawrence A. Dwyer, husband and attorney-at-law
Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s willingness to present candidly his own struggles with the psalms makes Praying the Liturgy of the Hours: A Personal Journey immediately helpful to all those who desire to pray the Liturgy of the Hours with more spiritual profit.
—Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago
Father Gallagher’s new book presents the Liturgy of the Hours in a new and refreshing way. It is a book important for every seminarian taking up the responsibility of the Liturgy of the Hours to review and to pray over.
This book touched my heart and was refreshing for me after having the responsibility of the Liturgy of the Hours for more than forty years. It opens up the Liturgy of the Hours in new and refreshing ways. I was especially taken by the focus that you have on the psalms being directed to the Church today and a way of praising Jesus Christ.
It certainly allowed me to see in new and refreshing ways God’s care for me and his presence in my life.
I believe this is a work that should be present in every single seminary in the United States. Also, it is a book that every priest and deacon committed to the Liturgy of the Hours would find a great blessing and renewal in reading.
—Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis