Holiness Throughout the Day – The Liturgy of the Hours
Many people of a “certain age” remember when priests would sometimes wander around the church yard holding a black leather bound book. It was called the Divine Office and was re-christened the Liturgy of the Hours after Vatican II.
The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church. Many religious orders such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Benedictines pray the liturgy of the hours in a formal church setting with chant. St Dominic’s Church in San Francisco has a wonderful series on the Liturgy of the Hours in their online newsletter. The Liturgy of the Hours can be shared at home by couples and the entire family in ways that are suitable for children, making it a happy experience. In the home church, example is everything. Many people pray two of the hours – morning (lauds or praise) and evening prayer (vespers). Night prayer also know as compline makes a beautiful ending of the day.
For the digital generation, the Liturgy of the Hours can be found on sites such as www.bookofhours.org, www.universalis.com, and www.ibreviary.org. You can open the Liturgy of the Hours on your mobile phone or tablet and click on the links as opposed to the marking of sections with colored ribbons in the printed version. If you are not praying with a monastic community, some people recommend the digital version as a way to get started. For a special treat listen to the daily podcasts by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Liturgy of the Hours.