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Liturgical prayer

Liturgical prayer in relation to everyday life

When we consider liturgical prayer, we usually think about two main forms: Divine Office, on one hand, the Sacraments and Holy Mass, on the other. How did Angela live these two sources of grace? The direct witnesses of her life have left little information concerning her liturgical prayer. She certainly recited the Office of Our Lady, since she requested this of her daughters. Her book of Office, Angela had promised and bequeathed it to John-Peter Fontana. He was a shoemaker, and one of the witnesses she chose for the first General Chapter in 1537. On the first page, there is a written mention of Angela’s death on Tuesday, March 27, 1540. This book of Office has been described in detail in the pages of the Canonization Process.

Angela’s devotion to the Holy Mass is asserted by Agostino Gallo, who says that she assisted at several Masses during the morning. We must not forget that outside the celebration of Mass, the Churches in Brescia were used for different meetings, political, financial, religious, and even for love-affairs. If anyone wanted to pray peacefully in church, he necessarily had to go there while Mass was being celebrated.

As for the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation, we remember that one of the reasons for which Angela entered the Third Order of Saint Francis, was that as a member, she could receive communion and go to Confession more often. Moreover, according to Bellintani, when her mission of comforting Caterina Patengola came to an end, Angela, instead of returning to Desenzano, chose to remain in Brescia, because there she had more opportunities to assist at Mass, receive Communion and go to Confession.

What are the counsels Angela left to her daughters in this respect? As we study her Writings, we realize that she not only spoke about specific times for liturgical prayer, but that she also proposed constant and daily attitudes as a background for Divine Office, Mass and the Sacraments, attitudes which help us live them on a deeper level.

I. Divine Office and prayer of praise and intercession

Liturgical payer

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