Liturgy of the Hours - (The Divine Office)


Now you can pray the Liturgy of the Hours without flipping back and forth to different pages.  Next to the Mass this is the most important prayer of the Church.  Click here to begin prayer.>>


The Liturgy of the Hours is an eternal hymn of praise, delight and joy sung within the halls of heaven.  That hymn was cut off from the world and contained within the Persons of the Trinity until One of the Persons became flesh and entered this world.  Now for the first time the hymn of praise, beauty and glory is being sung in a human heart and on human lips. Through our association with Christ we are introduced to this hymn as he joins our praise with His to the Father.  Fr. Timothy Gallagher 

"Just as we encounter Jesus in the liturgy of the Mass when we receive his Body and Blood, so also do we encounter Jesus in the Liturgy of the Hours, when He prays the Psalms to His Father...and we pray with Him." Daria Sockey The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours


Only since Vatican II has the laity been officially able to pray the LOTH as liturgical prayer (official public worship of the Church).

The hours consecrate the hours of the day as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord.


This prayer transcends other prayers because:

  1. It unites us to the Church universal
  2. It is liturgical.
  3. It is scriptural.
  4. It flows from and into the Mass.
  5. It is the very prayer of Jesus Himself.


Reach for your breviary.  It’s time to join in the symphony of prayer that is rising to heaven from disciples from all over the world including the Pope, missionaries in far-off lands, priests, bishops, and lay people; rising from cathedrals, cinder-block mission chapels, and homes like mine.


This symphony - a melody of praise - travels from time zone to time zone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  It is like a flaming torch of prayer being passed around the globe, relay style, by spiritual athletes.  


We are bringing to the throne of God the needs of the Pope, bishops, and priests as they carry out their ministry, of the sick, poor, and persecuted; of souls who have died that day.


We are exercising the royal priesthood we received at Baptism.  Must use an approved office for it to be a liturgical action.  It is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom.  Christ Himself continues His priestly work through His Church.  It is the very prayer which Christ together with His Body, addresses to the Father.  


Since Vatican II the laity have been delegated to offer the Hours as liturgy. 


You are using the word of God to praise, thank, and petition Him.  The words are truly the Lord’s prayers.  They will teach you how to pray; how to praise, how to thank, repent, petition and even how to complain to God about suffering and injustice.


By praying the psalms each day, we gradually absorb their language and attitude.










Fr. Timothy Gallagher talks about THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS. 

He says it is an eternal hymn of praise, delight and joy sung within the halls of heaven. That hymn was cut off from the world and contained within the Persons of the Trinity until One of the Persons became flesh and entered this world.  Now for the first time the hymn of praise, beauty and glory is being sung in a human heart and on human lips. Through our association with Christ we are introduced to this hymn as he joins our praise with His to the Father.

Click on "listen to podcast" above to hear the entire talk.  His new book about it will be coming out in the fall.

Fr Jeremy Driscoll, OSB from Mount Angel, OR Benedictine abbey explains the Liturgy of the Hours. Composed of Psalms, canticles, antiphons and prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours finds its historical roots in the ancient and venerable prayer of the synagogue.  Enjoy the beautiful explanations of the meaning of the different Hours of the Liturgy and how it all relates to the Mass and our daily lives. Very beautiful and inspiring!

Lectio Divina for Secular Carmelites

Chris Hart, OCDS and Theresa Thomas, OCDS

Lectio divina is Latin for “Divine reading”. It is a way of steeping ourselves in the experiential knowledge of God by engaging in conversation with the One who we know loves us. Using God’s own words in the Bible, we gradually learn to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord in order to center our life in allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Lectio has roots in ancient monastic tradition, which was highly regulated and very structured. As practiced in the Middle Ages.

Lectio Divina included at least four steps: lectio, or reading; meditatio, or meditation; oratio, or prayer; and contemplatio, contemplation. It was often compared to eating: In reading, we put food into our mouths; in meditation, we chew on it; in prayer we swallow it; and in contemplation we taste its fullness. Thus the Eucharist remains alive throughout the day through lectio.  As Carmelites we seek a free, intimate relationship with God in contemplation. Yet the Rule of St. Albert, our OCDS Constitutions and Provincial Statutes call us to immersion in the Word of God through lectio divina.   It is a paradox that such a highly structured, sometimes apparently rigid approach can lead us to the freedom that we seek in contemplation. So how does the Rule of St. Albert lead us to lectio divina? What exactly is lectio divina anyway, and how do we practice it?

The Rule of St. Albert is noteworthy for the way in which it relies on Sacred Scripture.  St. Albert had internalized scripture so completely that the words of the Bible became the words he automatically used to express his own thoughts. The Rule is rife with allusions to Biblical passages, without any explicit reference to them. It reflects the familiarity and freedom that can only come from many years of faithful encounter with the Word in Sacred Scripture.  With such a background, it should come as no surprise that Albert would make use of immersion in Sacred Scripture to form a life pure in heart, steadfast in conscience, and unswerving in the service of Christ.

Immersion in the Word is particularly suited to the formation of contemplatives. He enjoins us to listen to a reading from Holy Scripture during meals; to ponder the law of the Lord day and night; to keep watch at prayer; and to pray the psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours. He instructs us to gather each morning to hear the Word in Mass and urges us to be fortified by holy meditations. The Word must abound in our mouths and in our hearts, thus letting the Lord’s word accompany all we do. As example for this he gives us St. Paul, “into whose mouth Christ put his own words.” (Rule of St. Albert [20]) All of these injunctions are ways of bringing lectio’s encounter with the Word into our daily lives.  The purpose of lectio divina, as previously stated, is to bring about this profound familiarity with the Word of God so that His thoughts become our thoughts and His ways become our ways. Through lectio, we train ourselves to listen to what God has to say to us in the concrete circumstances of our lives. This is hard for us, because we are more accustomed to reading for information or discussion than to listening for and accepting what God wants to give in our reading. As with the Divine Office, when we engage in lectio divina, we are not alone, but in communion with the other members of Christ’s body who have chosen to ponder the Lord’s law day and night, keeping watch in prayer.


A preparatory step for lectio is to put ourselves in God’s presence. We ask for the assistance of the Holy Spirit to create the silent space within that is necessary to hear God’s Word for us expressed in the chosen scripture passage.  The first step then is to read the passage slowly and attentively, sitting with it in silence for a moment or two before asking, what does the text say as text?  Here it is important to pay close attention to the words so that we do not interpret the text to say what we want it to say instead of what it actually says. Interior silence will enable us to retell the story accurately in our own words. This is the step that corresponds to putting the food into our mouths. We hold it in silence for a moment or two before reading the text a second time, again slowly and attentively.

In the second step, after stilling ourselves, we ask what does the text say to me and to our world today? Thus begins the meditation, the chewing, of the text. In this step it is important to search each part of the text until all the questions have surfaced that might help us understand what God is saying through the selected passage. In this way, we imitate Our Lady who pondered God’s words to her in her heart. In our questions, we assume Mary’s trusting attitude of faith, not challenging, but seeking God’s truth.


This will lead naturally to the third step, oratio, the swallowing of the Word in prayer. In swallowing, we ingest something so that it can become an integral part of us. We might again read the text slowly and attentively, focused now on our deeper understanding of what God has said to us. Now we ask, how do I respond to what God has said? After answering that question, we make our response. This is St. Teresa’s intimate conversation with the One who we know loves us. Our response may take the form of more reflection or further searching, which can lead to a commitment.  It is easy to understand why it is swallowing the Word. 


Having swallowed, we may enter the fourth step of lectio, tasting the fullness of God’s word in contemplation. Even if God does not choose to grant the fullness of infused contemplation, after having absorbed God’s word in prayer, we cannot fail to experience the joy, peace and tranquility of living in accord with his will. With faithful practice, like St. Albert, we will internalize God’s words so completely that His word will abound in our mouths and in our hearts, and we will taste His fullness in contemplation.


“I promise you, in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment.”  Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

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