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…are the Our Father and the Hail Mary. We discuss them over at the Register today.
If you want to know more, see my book The Heart of Catholic Prayer.
Interesting addition to the much more obvious observation that these two prayers merit special attention because were given to us straight from the Bible, one from Christ Himself, and the other from God’s messenger.
I grant that the psalms were also given to us from the Bible, but via human authorship, and their length and diversity make them less fitting for every circumstance.
However, while your description of them as pillars of popular piety certainly fits, I’m not sure the description of them as liturgical pillars does very well. Liturgy doesn’t refer generally to the work of the people, but particularly to the public work of the people, and especially to the Mass and the Divine Office. While both of those include the Our Father, it is not so much a pillar as one of the many stones that make up the pillars I think we could consider the Mass and the Divine Office themselves to be. Meanwhile, neither includes the Hail Mary. Still, none of this detracts from the other points you make.
A related topic that has happened to be on my mind this week is the fact that we repeat both these prayers abundantly, especially in the rosary. I’d read with interest a similar article on why we make such a regular practice of repition.