Sunday, June 18, 2023

Call to prayer of a different kind

While the mainstream media typically associates the term "call to prayer" with adhan - the Islamic call to prayer, several religions have their own call to prayer

In the days before clocks, keeping of Canonical Hours was one way to tell time as it was based on the sun rising and setting.

The Islamic call to prayer is the Adhan recited by a muezzin at defined times of the day. The call is recited loudly from the mosque five times a day on most days and all day long during the religious holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, traditionally from the minaret. It is the first call summoning Muslims to enter the mosque for obligatory prayer. A second call, known as the iqamah summons those within the mosque to line up for the beginning of the prayers.

Outdoor loudspeakers, usually mounted on tall minarets, are used five times a day for the call to prayer, beginning at dawn. Some loudspeakers are powerful enough to be heard as far as three mikes away and in areas where more than one mosque is present, the loudspeaker sounds overlap one another, especially in the early morning when sounds are more clearly heard.

Sunnis believe that the adhan was not written or said by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, but by one of his Sahabah (his companions). Abdullah ibn Zayd, a sahabi of Muhammad, had a vision in his dream, in which the call for prayers was revealed to him by God, after it had been decided that Islam should find its own method to announce the time of prayer rather than using those of other religions, such as the use of bells by Christians

Sanctifying Time

From the time of the Mosaic law, the People of God have observed fixed feasts, beginning with Passover, to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God, to give him thanks for them, to perpetuate their remembrance, and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them. In the age of the Church, between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all, and its consummation in the kingdom of God, the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ. CCC 1164

In the Christian tradition, church bells are rung as a call to prayer voluntarily. at the canonical hours prayed at fixed prayer times, as well as at the start of a church service, but typically not referred to as a "call to prayer " - In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, for example, canonical hours are also called officium, since it refers to the official prayer of the Church, which is known variously as the officium divinum ("divine service" or "divine duty"), and the opus Dei ("work of God"). Canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of fixed times of prayer at regular intervals.

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 celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, "the divine office."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." In this "public prayer of the Church," the faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized. Celebrated in "the form approved" by the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours "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. CCC 1174

A book of hours, chiefly a breviary, normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the early Church, different methods were used to call the worshippers: playing trumpets, hitting wooden planks, shouting, or using a courier. The use of social media apps, such as the Divine Office, makes it easier to refer to the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours.

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." CCC 1175

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." CCC 1176

The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Moreover, the reading from the Word of God at each Hour (with the subsequent responses or troparia) and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours, reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the psalms, and prepare for silent prayer. The lectio divina, where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted 

       in the liturgical celebration. CCC 1177

The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather in a complementary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament. CCC 1178

From the time of the early Church, the practice of seven fixed prayer times, being attached to Psalm 119:164, have been taught: Psalm 119:164 states: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws." Symeon of Thessalonica writes that "the times of prayer and the services are seven in number, like the number of gifts of the Spirit, since the holy prayers are from the Spirit; in Apostolic Tradition, Hippolytus instructed Christians to pray seven times a day "on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight" and "the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion
In the West, the Rule of Saint Benedict, was modeled on his guidelines for the prayers on the customs of the basilicas of Rome. It was he who expounded the concept in Christian prayer of the inseparability of the spiritual life from the physical life. St. Benedict set down the dictum Ora et labora – "Pray and work". The Order of Saint Benedict began to call the prayers the Opus Dei or "Work of God"

By the 9th century in the West, the canonical hours consisted of daily prayer l liturgies:

Matins (nighttime)

Lauds (early morning)

Prime (first hour of daylight)

Terce (third hour)

Sext (noon)

Nones (ninth hour)

Vespers (sunset evening)

Compline (end of the day

We have heard about sanctifying places and spaces. Now we can also sanctify time.

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