Liturgy of the Hours


Pray the Liturgy of the Hourswith us!

The Liturgy of the Hours, which is the public and common prayer of the Church, is the prayer of Christ with his body, the Church. Through the Liturgy of the Hours the mystery of Christ, which we celebrate in the Eucharist, sanctifies and transforms the whole of each day. It is composed mainly of psalms, other biblical texts, and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters.   
                    — From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church                                                                                                                                                                                 

Note: Please download the iBreviary here.  It is free.

Liturgy of the Hours goes by many names: Divine Office, Breviary, Flippy Book (I may be the only one who uses this last one, though). As the USCCB states, it is “the daily prayer of the Church, marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer.” The five “hours” during which you offer praise to God in this prayer are (1) Office of Readings, (2) Morning Prayer or “Lauds,” (3) Daytime Prayer (divided into specific parts of the daytime), (4) Evening Prayer or “Vespers,” and (5) Night Prayer or “Compline.”

The Divine Office traces its roots back to the early Church. Although the practice of marking the day with prayer has been engrained in our faith throughout all of salvation history. The prayers usually come in a Breviary, a thick book with many ribbons that mark specific hours or seasons in the Liturgical Year. They focus heavily on the Psalms, but include parts from all over the Bible and particularly the Gospel.

In reflecting on these verses, we have the opportunity to hear the Spirit’s voice, to realize that God crafted these words knowing that we, specifically, would read them. And, fun fact: like the Mass readings, the readings we reflect on change each day and week. Any Catholic reading the Divine Office that day is reflecting on the same unique piece of God’s inspired Word.

Even the title “the daily prayer of the Church” points to its significance. I would think the Rosary or the Mass would earn that title (though the Mass is the source and summit of our faith, so I think it wins in the end). But no it’s the Breviary!

But anyways, fun fact #2, priests don’t actually have to celebrate Mass every day. But they, as well as deacons, DO have to pray the hours of the Divine Office. Every single day. Ask your nearest priest, he can prove it!

All this to say, Liturgy of the Hours is important. It’s such a beautiful aspect of our faith. For centuries, priests and religious have poured their intercession into our Church family through this form of prayer. For lay people today, and especially us as young Catholics, it can serve as a powerful reminder of the Lord who constantly surrounds our daily life.


© Diocese of Fall River UMass Dartmouth Catholic Campus Ministry -  2019