Liturgical Time



One of the songs our schola sings caught my ear when I was new to the group. Festive Hodie, with music by Greg Gilpin, is set to a traditional Latin text. It’s an upbeat tune whose lyrics rejoice about hodie (today), Christus natus est (Christ is born), and Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest).

I recently came across comments of Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem regarding hodie and it being the most important word in understanding Catholic liturgical theology. He says this is because hodie reflects the test to which we are always striving, that of experiencing liturgy today.

How is this possible? By living the liturgical year intentionally.

Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC ¶102) refers to the unit of time known as a liturgical year and tells us that the Church unfolds the whole mystery of Christ within the cycle of one such year – from the incarnation and birth until the ascension and then Pentecost – all of it. That’s a lot. We are given the opportunity, year after year, to immerse ourselves into these mysteries today – hodie!

Fred Craddock, an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), mentioned hodie when writing about preaching and said that “One of the critical factors of hodie is when you are having an ‘a-ha’ moment in a homily. It is not because you are given new information but because you are being given language to identify your life experience with the story proclaimed in the readings.”

Lectio divina, a staple of Benedictine life, does something similar. It uses the written word to grow one’s relationship with God by increasing one’s knowledge of God’s word. Experience has shown me that lectio and hodie go hand-in-hand. A few weeks before last year’s Easter Vigil I was asked to proclaim the second reading, that of God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). For days all I could think about was that story. I walked with it, prayed with it, worked with it, was immersed in it. When the proclamation day arrived I was Abraham. Hodie!

Intentionally living liturgical time helps us experience liturgy … today … hodie!


Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3