Liturgy of the Hours
Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Office and Breviary are all names that refer to the official prayer of
the Church prayed at different times of the day in order to “sanctify” it. Priests and religious are obliged canonically, as official
representatives of the Church, to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours traces its beginnings back to Jewish worship
and the Old Covenant, where morning and evening sacrifices were offered by the Aaronic priests (Ex. 29:38-29). At the time of the
Babylonian Exile, the Temple did not exist. However, synagogue services developed Torah readings, psalms and hymns, as a “sacrifice
of praise”, substituting them for the original bloody sacrifices. In the Old Testament we read David’s words “Seven times a day I
praise you", (Ps. 119:164).
After the Exile, the Jewish people returned to Judea, and they rebuilt the Temple. To the custom
of Morning and Evening prayers, they added prayers at the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours of the day. Christians continued the
custom of prayers at these Hours, as noted in the Acts of the Apostles, (Third: Acts 2:15; Sixth: Acts 10:9; 10: 3, 13).
Monastic and Eremitical (hermit) life in the early Church regarded Psalms as the perfect form of prayer, although specific customs
and practices differed among the individual monasteries. Praying the entire Psalter (150 Psalms) each day eventually evolved
into a weekly cycle built around certain hours of the day. The Second Vatican Council replaced the traditional one-week Psalter cycle
with a four-week cycle. The basic structure of combining Psalms, prayers, canticles and readings, has been relatively constant since
the 11th century, and is the basis for our current ‘Liturgy of the Hours’.
Liturgy of the Hours -- Classic Liturgy
of the Hours -- Our Monastery
Hour of the Day
Hour of the Day
|| 6:00 a.m.
|| Office of Readings, then Morning Prayer|
| First Hour of the Day
| Third Hour of
|| Midmorning Prayer
|| 8:00 a.m.
|| Midmorning Prayer|
| Sixth Hour of the Day
|| 12 noon
|| Combined Midday and Midafternoon Prayer |
| Ninth Hour of the Day
| Evening Approaches
|| Evening Prayer
|| 5:00 p.m.
|| Evening Prayer|
|| 6:00 p.m.
|| Night Prayer|