With the onset of the Easter Season, St. Patrick parishioners have started praying morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours following the daily Mass. We have copies of these prayer books in the chapel for daily prayer. So, what is the Liturgy of the Hours?
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the church. Upon ordination to any of the Holy Orders, the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours becomes a canonical obligation. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Eucharist, has formed part of the Christian Church's public worship from the earliest times. Christians of both Eastern and Western traditions (including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican churches) celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours under various names. Within Roman Catholicism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the Roman Breviary. In Greek the corresponding services are found in the Ὡρολüγιον (Horologion), meaning Book of Hours. Within Anglicanism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the Book of Common Prayer. Other names for the Liturgy of the Hours within the Latin Rite include the Divine Office, the Diurnal and Nocturnal Office, Ecclesiastical Office, Cursus ecclesiasticus, or simply cursus.
When one prays the Liturgy of the Hours one is praying with the Church throughout the world. Like the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours is a source of the Church's communion. We pray with one voice...millions strong! Won't you join us?