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Benedictine Sisters

Liturgy of the Hours

We believe that the Divine Presence is everywhere… beyond the least doubt we should believe this to be especially true when we celebrate the Divine Office. - Rule of Benedict, Chapter 19. 

liturgyhoursWhat is Liturgy of the Hours?
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the daily, public prayer of the Church.  It is based on the psalms, the very prayers that formed Jesus himself.  The psalms give voice to the cries of the human heart, to joy, pain, frustration and grief.  Exposure to the broad spectrum of the psalms as they are prayed daily over the course of life, builds up in us a treasury of words for our own prayer.

At the hour for the divine office, as soon as the bell has been heard, let them leave whatever they have in hand and hasten with all speed, though in orderly fashion… Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Opus Dei.”  - Rule of Benedict, Chapter 43

For monastics who follow in the Benedictine tradition, the Liturgy of the Hours holds a primal place in the prayer life of the community.   We leave our work or whatever we may be doing to remind us that God IS the center of our lives.  Opus Dei, Latin for ‘work of God’, is Benedict’s descriptive term for the Divine Office.  The purpose of this prayer is to praise God and shape our souls into the likeness of Christ as we soak ourselves in the Word of God day after day, year after year.




liturgyhoursWhy pray the Divine Office at different times of the day?

"Seven times a day I praise you, for your righteous ordinances," (Psalm 119:164)

It is about the sanctification of time and is linked with the Feasts and Seasons of the Liturgical Year as well as with the natural rhythms of the day, especially the alternation of light and darkness.  It is one method of praying always, of celebrating the holiness of time by making time throughout the day to pray.  It calls us to enter the now, to stop, to listen and to heed the message of this moment.

Traditionally there were eight periods of prayer in the monastic schedule.  These hours were fulfilled by
Matins, (or Vigils) a night time prayer that focused on history and wisdom;
Lauds, the sunrise prayer,  a time of praise;
Prime, Tierce, Sext and None, also known as the ‘little hours’, short psalms prayed during the daytime;
Vespers, the sunset prayer, a time of thanksgiving and reconciliation;
Compline, the closing of the of the day, a prayer for protection and rest. 

Lauds and Vespers, prayed at sunrise and sunset, are the hinge hours of the day.  They are considered major hours and hold a special place in the schedule.

Which Hours do the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration pray?
Each of our three monasteries prays four of the Hours but it varies a little as to which ones.  So across the congregation we pray Vigils, Lauds, Dayhour, (a combination of Tierce, Sext and None), Vespers and Compline.

Join us for sung Lauds and Vespers recorded at our monastery in Clyde, MO each day at  monasterypodcast.com