Faith/Spirituality Forum: Divine Office
Divine Office QUESTION from may on January 11, 2003 I am so blessed to have surfed into this interesting web site and learnt much..
Please tell me what is divine office ?Its purpose, etc ?? Thanks
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 19, 2003 Dear May:
The Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) is the official prayer of the church in obedience to Jesus telling us that we must always be in prayer.
Because the Office is ordered to 7 different times of the day at any given time, the Church is in prayer 24 hours a day.
The purpose of the Office is to obey Christ's command literally, and to sanctify the hours of the day -- that is why the various offices of the Divine Office are prayed at certain times.
For example, here is a typical schedule for the Divine Office, though various monasteries vary on the specific times, the point is that each of the offices sanctify that part of the day:
3am - Vigils 6am - Lauds 9am - Tierce 12pm - Sext 3pm - None 6pm - Vespers 9pm - Compline
In addition to monks and nuns, and priests, who are required to pray the Divine Office, the laity are also HIGHLY encouraged to pray some portion of the Office. Because laity have responsibilities of work and family they are not expected to pray all seven hours, but they can pray some portion, such as Lauds, Vespers, and Compline perhaps. Lauds is Morning Prayer; Vespers is Evening Prayer; and Compline is Night Prayer just before going to bed.
The laity are encouraged to pray whatever part of the Office they are able to do, and especially Sunday Vespers.
When praying the Divine Office you do not pray alone, or pray amongst yourself and friends who gather to pray the Office, you actually pray with the ENTIRE Church because this is the official prayer of the Church.
Thus, since it is not a personal prayer, but a liturgcal (official Church) prayer it is regulated by the Vatican as to rules and procedures for praying the Divine Office.
Thus form of prayer is VERY powerful since it is the whole Church praying. As the Bible tells us wherever two or more are gathered He is there. In the Divine Office, billions (the whole Church) mystically gatheres together. It is an awesome thing.
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