A: A liturgy – that is, a form of “public and common prayer by the people of God” in which Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his church.”
Q: What is the purpose?
A: Jesus taught us to pray ceaselessly, to praise God, to draw close to Him as Son through the Holy Spirit, and to “intercede for salvation of the world.” Prayed at fixed times throughout the day, the Liturgy of the Hours provides the opportunity for all the baptized to add their voice and hearts to universal prayer of the Church.
Q: What form does this take?
A: Changing with the liturgical season, the Liturgy of the Hours involves reciting psalms, litanies, canticles and intercessions. It also includes a reading from the Word of God – lectio divina, which brings this shared prayer into dialogue with the mystery of God’s revelation. At St. Basil’s we supplement Lauds with a second reading, to invite deeper contemplation of this grace, and gift.
Q: How do we pray this liturgy?
A: As in the monastic tradition, participants take turns reciting verses, so that we all both add our voice to the prayer, and train our hearts to listen.
Q: How often do you gather?
A: Every Weekday at 5:10 PM and every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM in the sactuary of the Church.
Q: How do I get more information?
A: Call the parish office at 416-926-7110 or just show up!
“Vespers is there for me whenever I can attend, and when I can it’s the most comforting 20 minutes of my day. I initially resisted as I thought I had to prepare or make a commitment, but you don’t.”
Why the Psalms?
“Bonhoeffer linked the idea of grace with prayer by saying that we cannot reach God with our own prayers, but by praying ‘his’ prayers—the Psalms of the Old Testament, which Jesus prayed—we effectively piggyback on them all the way to heaven. We must not confuse what we do naturally, such as ‘wishing, hoping, sighing, lamenting, rejoicing,’ with prayer, which is unnatural to us and which must be initiated from outside us, by God. If we confuse these two things, ‘we confuse earth and heaven, human beings and God.’ Prayer cannot come from us. ‘For that,’ Bonhoeffer wrote, ‘one needs Jesus Christ!’
By praying the Psalms, we ‘pray along with Christ’s prayer and therefore may be certain and glad that God hears us. When our will, our whole heart, enters into the prayer of Christ, then we are truly praying. We can pray only in Jesus Christ, with whom we shall also be heard.’
Bonhoeffer was firm: ‘The Psalter filled the life of early Christianity. But more important than all of this is that Jesus died on the cross with words from the Psalms on his lips. Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure is lost to the Christian church. With its recovery will come unexpected power.”