Tuesday, August 02, 2022

St Alphonsus Liguori on the Merits of Reciting the Divine Office

Those who recite the Office with attention derive very great merit and profit from it. What lights are received from those divine words! In what holy maxims is the soul immerged! How many acts of love, of confidence, of humility, of contrition can one make by paying attention to the verses that one recites! Above all, how many beautiful prayers are recited in the Office, which if they were only done with faith and fervor, would obtain for us treasures of grace, according to the Lord’s infallible promise, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you. (Matt. 8, 7) Every one that asketh, receiveth. (Luke 9, 10)

I add that when the Office is recited without devotion and with only the thought of getting done as quickly as possible, it then becomes a heavy and boring burden, and seems never to end; but on the contrary, when it is recited with devotion, with a desire to profit thereby, by applying the mind and the heart to that which is spoken by the mouth, the burden becomes light and sweet, as the Saints have well experienced, who found greater pleasure in reciting the Office than the worldly find in their secular entertainments. In one single Office recited with devotion many degrees of glory in heaven may be gained; what a treasure of merits will be obtained from the Office said thus (i.e. with devotion) for thirty or forty years of one’s life! (From the prologue of St Alphonsus Liguori’s translation of the psalms and canticles with commentary, which he published in 1775 as an aid to the clergy in the devout recitation of the Office. h/t N.W.)

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