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Some dedicated readers of this forum may recall a promise this poster made around the beginning of Lent to write an essay on the place of the Divine Office in the life of the Church, and the place of the liturgy in the life of a Christian.

Looks like I've hit a major snag:

I've not found one Christian educated enough among the ordained and lay faithful who can answer what exactly constitutes liturgical prayer over private prayer.

The more this is pondered, the more disturbing it is. If the liturgy is the heart of the Church, and the driving issue of traditional Catholics, why is it we cannot answer what makes the liturgy the liturgy?

The original issue was why, objectively speaking, the Divine Office is a better prayer than the Rosary. Both can be done in common (in fact, the Divine Office is supposed to be sung in community). Both have similar features like alternating verses. Both have long histories (though the Divine Office, being Apostolic, is older significantly older than the Rosary). Both are composed chiefly of Scripture. Both are ideally said with clergy. But what makes the Mass and the Office intrinsically different than private devotions? It's not the presence of Sacraments, as the Office is not a Sacrament. So what is it?

I'm afraid my essay cannot move an inch further until this question is answered.