The Liturgy of the Hours is part of the heartbeat of our religious life, which, along with Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass, gives a rhythm to our daily life. The cycle of readings which we go through each year is another element of this rhythm, and at different times of the year we can look forward to rereading our favorite books of the Old or New Testament as we come upon them in the Office of Readings.
Yesterday we began reading the Book of Esther. It only takes a few days to read through before beginning the book of the prophet Baruch, so we spend less time with it than we do with some of the other Old Testament books in the Office of Readings. But just because it’s short, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Esther is one of the prefigurements of Our Lady which we find in the Old Testament. There were many different women who foreshadowed or mirrored the role Our Lady would have in salvation history: Eve, Judith, Esther and Ruth, to name just a few Marian types found in the Old Testament. The Church Fathers recognized this as early as the second century. Here’s a great blog post about Esther and Our Lady from Fr. Joseph of the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph.