I was listening to Catholic Answers last week and there was mention of saying the “Liturgy of the Word” every day andhow it was actually the sanctioned form of personal prayer versus how the rosray, while considered precious, is not formally sanctioned by the church. I am relatively new to the Church and the only “Liturgy of the Word” I am familiar with is that said during Mass…what am I missing?
What they were discussing was the Litugy of the Hours–not the Liturgy of the Word, which is the first part of the Mass. The Liturgy of the Hours is also known as the Divine Office. Office here means work: the divine work. The divine work of the Church is to acknowledge God’s goodness and sovereignty. It consists of Scripture readings, psalms and canticles that correspond to the various times of the day and night. The two prinicipal hours (times of prayer) are Lauds (morning prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer). The Liturgy of the Hours, like the Mass, is the official public prayer of the Church. So it outranks all forms of private devotion, including the rosary, as good as such devotions are.
Private devotions are called private to distinguish them from liturgy which is the Church’s official pulbic prayer. They mary be prayed in public, however.
As a Dominican friar, I pray the Liturgy of the Hours in community every day. But it may be prayed privately also. For more on the subject, see the following:
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.