What is the Liturgy of the Hours?
The Liturgy of the Hours, which is the public and common prayer of the Church, is the prayer of Christ with his body, the Church. Through the Liturgy of the Hours the mystery of Christ, which we celebrate in the Eucharist, sanctifies and transforms the whole of each day. It is composed mainly of psalms, other biblical texts, and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters. —From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic
iBreviary Pro Terra Sancta – online
The Franciscan Crown Rosary
The Franciscan Crown Rosary is a Rosary consisting of seven decades with each decade describing a particular joy from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Seven Joys are:
1) The Annunciation
2) The Visitation
3) The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
4) The Adoration of the Magi
5) The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
6) The Appearance of Christ to Mary after the Resurrection
7) The Assumption and Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven
The Franciscan Crown Rosary begins quite simply by stating the first Mystery and then praying one Our Father and ten Hail Marys while meditating upon it. This same procedure is then followed for the other six Mysteries. Even though it is common practice nowadays to add the Glory Be at the end of each decade, and even the Fatima Prayer, these are not required. It is customary to finish by adding two Hail Marys in honor of the 72 years that Our Lady is said to have lived on earth, and one Our Father and Hail Mary for the intentions of the Pope.
The story of the Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin dates back to the early 15th century. A pious young man named James had been accustomed to adorning a beautiful statue of Mary with a crown of flowers, which he had picked and woven himself. He later entered the Franciscan Order, but either because of a lack of time or permission, he was no longer able to continue this devotion. Distraught because of this, he decided to abandon the religious life and return to the world.Our Lady then appeared to him and convinced him not to leave the order. She told him that he should not be downcast because he was no longer permitted to adorn her statue, for she would teach him a way to give her honor which was much more pleasing and meritorious. Instead of a crown of flowers, which quickly wither, he was to weave a crown of prayers, and these prayers could be offered at any moment. She then taught him the Rosary of the Seven Joys, adding that these prayers would not only form a more acceptable crown, but they would also yield innumerable graces for himself and others.
This simple but beautiful devotion of praying the Crown of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin soon spread over the entire Franciscan Order and was officially established in 1422.
Franciscan reading exhibits qualities of Franciscan spirituality; actions, spontaneity, love, praise, beauty, and delight in creation. This form of reading involves the mental process of entering personally into the text.Read chapter 53 of Isaiah. The message in the chapter prompts a reflection of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. The Franciscan method invites you to take actions that would prompt obedience and compassion for humankind. You would also gain an appreciation for loving your fellow man. In connecting with the sacrifice of Cavalry, imagine as best you can the experience of dying on the cross. Using a cross with the crucified Savior, hold it in your hands, gazing at the details of the Lord’s crucified body. Imagine his pain and suffering.
You might look through today’s newspaper and identify places in the world where people are suffering and make a conscious effort to relieve that suffering. You may choose to write a poem expressing your feelings or paint a picture. Such a scene has been captured countless times on canvas.
The Franciscan method of action, love, spontaneity, love, praise, and delight in creation while reading scripture, is a personal connection with God causing the reader to saturate the entire experience with prayer, asking God to make you an instrument of peace in the lives of those who are suffering.
May the Lord bless and keep us, May his face shine upon us and be gracious to us, May the Lord look upon us with kindness and give us his peace and may the Lord bless us, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Amen
- Daily Scripture Readings – Daily Mass Readings and Meditations for the Day
- Franciscan Crown Rosary (The Seven Joys of Mary) — National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi
Additional Prayer Resources
- Prayers & Devotions (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
- Many Catholic Prayers (Catholic Online) — listed alphabetically & by subject
- 3-Minute Retreat (Loyola Press)