11 May 2009

The Saints Found Pleasure In Saying The Divine Office

It is a pity to see with what irreverence some recite the Canonical Hours, saying them in the streets, or in view of everybody at a window looking at what passes below, or in conversation with friends, laughing and jesting, intermingling trifling words and jokes with the divine praises, without paying any attention to what they recite.

Very great is the merit, and the profit also, which they derive who say the Divine Office with attention. What delights are then obtained from the word of God, with what holy maxims is the soul penetrated! How many good acts may one not make – acts of love, of confidence, of humility, of contrition – by paying attention to these verses one recites! Above all, how many beautiful prayers are found in the Office, prayers which, if said with faith and fervor, will obtain for us treasures of grace, according to the infallible promise of our Lord that He will hear whoever prays to Him: “Ask, and it shall be given you. For everyone that asks, receives.”

I may add that when the Office is said without devotion, and with no other thought than to get over it as quickly as possible, it becomes a very heavy and wearisome burden, and seems as though it would never come to an end; but, on the contrary, when it is recited with devotion, and with the desire to derive profit from it, by applying the mind and the heart to what the lips pronounce, its burden becomes light and sweet; of this the Saints made good experience, who found more pleasure in saying the Divine Office than worldlings find in all their pastimes and amusements.

One single Office recited with devotion may gain for us many degrees of glory!

~Saint Alphonsus Liguori~