Fountain of Holiness

In the final analysis, the value of the Liturgy of the Hours is found in relation to spiritual elevation of God’s people, to their sanctification. God does not need our praises to exist or to be God, yet our participation in the Opus Dei is an opportunity for us to taste and see God’s goodness, and to grow in holiness, even when we may feel that is not taking place. The “General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours,” #14, says:

“Our sanctification is accomplished and worship is offered to God in the liturgy of the hours in such a way that an exchange or dialogue is set up between God and us, in which ‘God is speaking to his people…and his people are responding to him by both song and prayer’ (Constitution on Liturgy of Vatican II, art. 33).

Those taking part in the liturgy of the hours have access to holiness of the richest kind through the life-giving word of God, which in this liturgy receives great emphasis. Thus its readings are drawn from sacred Scripture, God’s words in the psalms are sung in his presence, and the intercessions, prayers and hymns are inspired by Scripture and steeped in its spirit.

Hence, not only when those things are read “that are written for our instruction” (Rom 15:14), but also when the Church prays and sings, faith is deepened for those who take part and their minds are lifted up to God, in order to offer him their worship as intelligent beings and to receive his grace more plentifully.”

God is glorified and we are sanctified in the celebration of the Divine Office, and there is its intrinsic worth. This exchange is not a once and for all matter, but a daily and ongoing one, engaging our time and effort until our final breath on earth. Our “liturgy of praise” nourishes our faith, and not only our faith, but also our hope and charity–all three of the theological virtues. In cultivating these virtues we grow in holiness, the goal of our existence.

Christ is always present when we pray the hours, and in fact is the focus of our praise. Christ is present there so as to reproduce, by the action of the Holy Spirit, his very image in those who are praying and in the entire Church. In the Holy Spirit Christ carries out the work of redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God at the same time (see GILOH #13 and Const. on Liturgy, art. 5). This happens not only when the Eucharist and the other sacraments of the Church are celebrated, but also in other ways, especially in the Liturgy of the Hours. The deepest means is through the Holy Eucharist, but the Opus Dei is an important fountain of grace as well.

“In as much as it is the celebration of the mystery of Christ, the Work of God embraces the mystery of salvation in its totality; that is to say it includes the announcement of salvation, its fulfillment in Christ, and the prolongation of this fulfillment in the Church until it attains it plentitude at the end of time” (Directory for Celebration of Work of God, #11).

Hippolytus, the Church Father, asserts that all the hours of the Opus Dei are “a memorial of the things Christ has done.”