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304

Part Two

1173

When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and

other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal

mystery in those “who have suffered and have been glorified with

Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all

men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs

for God’s favors.”

45

The Liturgy of the Hours

1174

The mystery of Christ, his Incarnation and Passover, which

we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly,

permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebra-

tion of the Liturgy of the Hours, “the divine office.”

46

This celebration,

faithful to the apostolic exhortations to “pray constantly,” is “so

devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by

the praise of God.”

47

In this “public prayer of the Church,”

48

the

faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priest-

hood of the baptized. Celebrated in “the form approved” by the

Church, the Liturgy of theHours “is truly the voice of the Bride herself

addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ

himself together with his Body addresses to the Father.”

49

1175

The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the

whole People of God. In it Christ himself “continues his priestly work

through his Church.”

50

His members participate according to their own

place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives: priests devoted

to the pastoral ministry, because they are called to remain diligent in

prayer and the service of the word; religious, by the charism of their

consecrated lives; all the faithful as much as possible: “Pastors of souls

should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated

in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts. The laity,

too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or

among themselves, or even individually.”

51

1176

The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not

only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a

deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of

the Psalms.”

52

45

SC

104; cf.

SC

108, 111.

46 Cf.

SC,

ch. IV, 83-101.

47

SC

84;

1 Thess

5:17;

Eph

6:18.

48

SC

98.

49

SC

84.

50

SC

83.

51

SC

100; cf. 86; 96; 98;

PO

5.

52

SC

90.

957

2698

2700