The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office or the Breviary, is the continuous prayer of the church, offered at various times throughout each day in keeping with the call to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
Morning and Evening Prayer form the two “hinge hours,” with daytime prayers, Night Prayer and the Office of Readings rounding out the day. The Liturgy of the Hours is drawn from the word of God, combining Psalms, prayers, Scripture passages and canticles.
To aid readers in praying the Office this Lent, CatholicPhilly.com provides the daily link to the Liturgy of the Hours from iBreviary. To begin, click below on the liturgical hour you wish to pray and follow the text of the prayers.
The Divine Office “is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 84).
The origin of the Hours ultimately lies in the Old Covenant, under which the Aaronic priests offered morning and evening sacrifices to God. “Seven times a day I praise you,” declared the psalmist (Ps 119:164).
The earliest Christians continued the practice of praying in common at fixed hours throughout the day (Acts 2:15; 3:1; 10:3, 9; 13).
Over the centuries, such prayer was taken up and standardized by those in monastic, clerical and religious life. Yet the Second Vatican Council declared that “the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the Divine Office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 100).
Families, who are “the domestic sanctuary of the church,” are also encouraged “not only to pray together to God but also to celebrate some parts of the Liturgy of the Hours as occasion offers, in order to enter more deeply into the life of the Church” (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 27).
The Liturgy of the Hours is available in printed form, and updated translations are in progress. Many find that websites and apps, such as iBreviary and Laudate, are a great help in praying the Office.
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