The bells of a monastery or convent were often the signal for the whole community to stop and pray. Short prayers at a particular time of the day have long been used by Catholics to centre their lives on Christ.
The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office is prayed at particular hours of each day by priests and religious. Some lay people may also pray the Liturgy of the Hours, while others mark different times of the day with shorter prayers. The Morning Offering, the Angelus said at noon, and a prayer before sleep are simple ways in which anyone can make space for prayer in a busy day.
Our fast-paced 21st century can make it difficult to find time for prayer. For centuries Catholics have been using simple prayers which mark different times of the day. We encourage you to make these prayers part of your day.
“… whether you pray alone or as part of a community, you should always expect your prayer to take you out of yourself and lead you to where the love of Jesus is most experienced. Prayer opens your heart to the Holy Spirit who will surprise you not only with the direction suggested for your travelling, but – and especially – the gifts you need to make the journey.” (“Prayer in the Busyness of Life” New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference)
“There used to be a form of devotion that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ’s great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and human love.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, para. 40)
Lord I give you today my prayers,
thoughts, works and actions,
that they may be for your glory
and for the good of the world.
E te Ariki, ka tuku atu, ki a koe, nga inoi,
nga whakaaro, nga mahi katoa o tenei ra
hei whakakororia I a koe
a, hei painga mo tea o turoa nei.
(From “Prayers in Common Use” Catholic Publications Centre)
The Angelus Domini is the traditional form used by the faithful to commemorate the holy annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It is used three times daily: at dawn, midday, and dusk. It is a recollection of the salvific event in which the Word became Flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the salvific plan of the Father. (Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Principles and Guidelines, n.195)
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to your word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh: and dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
Giving thanks for the day:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.