Prayers for all Occasions, Needs, and Intentions
THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS
The Church's full cycle of daily Prayer
WHAT IS LITURGY OF THE HOURS?
Church’s full cycle of daily prayer, opened with the Venite Exultemus
(Psalm 95). The fulfillment of the obligation to pray at stated times: in
the morning, in the evening, and before retiring. Called the Divine Office
(sacred duty), it was updated by Vatican II and published as the Liturgy
of the Hours in 1971. The book used for its celebration was called the Breviary,
referred to as the opus Dei (Latin: work of God) by the
The Liturgy's very richness is also its weakness. The liturgical calendar, the four-week cycle of psalms, the celebrations of saints - all these interact in an intricate dance of prayer that requires some 6,000 pages of small print in 3 or 4 volumes. The complete books (the Breviary) are expensive to buy, heavy to carry, and, except for the really dedicated, too complex to use. Thus many people with a busy life in the world are unable to undertake the project of praying the liturgy, and so it remains shamefully unused.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (#1175) that the Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole people of God and encourages the common celebration of the principal hours, like vespers (evening prayer), in common on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. This prayer ministry is to include all the baptized, either with priests, among themselves, or even individually.
the ordained as well as certain religious communities have been obliged,
historically, to celebrate this liturgy, the exhortation to pray the
Liturgy of the Hours belongs to the whole Church (CCC #1175). (The Little
Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, introduced by St. Peter Damian in the
eleventh century, is a version of the hours traditionally used by many
religious communities and members of sodalities.)
CCC #1175 The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God. In it Christ himself “continues his priestly work through His Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives: priests devoted to the pastoral ministry, because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the world; religious, by the charism of their consecrated lives; all the faithful as much as possible: “Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.
there were seven canonical hours (“Seven times a day I praise you,”
Psalm 119:164), chanted in monastic communities. With much variation, the
pattern was seven daytime offices and the night office:
the Morning and Evening Prayer are restored as the most important
“hinges” of each day’s office. The Office of Readings is not an hour
(time) in the sense the other hours are, but two readings: one biblical
and one patristic (from the fathers) or hagiographical (of the saints).
Daytime Prayer consolidates the little hours of Prime, Terce, Sext, and
None for those not saying the Office in choir (depending on the time one
has, the choice is of midmorning, midday, or mid-afternoon).
I realize, from the many inquiries pertaining to the Liturgy of the Hours, an apparent interest in this devotion needs to be kindled. I will slowly but surely provide this excellent albeit quite cumbersome volume of prayers on this site but not in the volumes of books as exists but rather offer the Liturgy of the Hours by the Liturgical Season in an extremely easy to use format, similar to that provided for the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Prayers to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Beloved Dead are included as well. All one will have to know is what Liturgical Season it is, clicking the proper one below will then provide the Liturgy of the Hours for that Liturgical Season. The Liturgical Seasons will be added to this page as they are completed.
THE BLESSED MOTHER: Hail Mary, full of grace.
OUR BELOVED DEAD: May the perpetual light of the Lord shine upon them.
ADVENT: We prepare for the coming of Jesus, who is here and yet to come.
CHRISTMAS: We celebrate the gift of our Father's love: Jesus is our brother and our Lord.
LENT: In our daily life and prayer we die with Christ to sin, and live for God.
EASTER: We celebrate Jesus' dying and rising and our sharing with him through baptism.
PENTECOST: Sharing in the new life of Christ we are filled with his Spirit.
ORDINARY TIME: With Jesus we enter into the work of his body, the Church.
Elements of the Liturgy of the Hours