Divine Office Or Liturgy Of The Hours
The Apostles and the early Christians continued the Jewish practice of praying during certain hours of day or night. Through the years, modifications were made.
Bishops, priests, and other sacred ministers continued the practice to be reminded that Jesus said to pray to God without ceasing.
It became known as the Divine Office which are Christian prayers said at fixed hours, even midnight and early morning, according to the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church
It is primarily a prayer of praise and petition by the entire Church or People of God joined to Christ Himself and through Christ to the Father, for the salvation of the world.
The Divine Office forms part of the public prayer of the Church rather than a mere devotional private prayer meant to unite the individual with Christ. Thus, it follows prescribed or official texts and formulas of the Church.
The official book containing the prayers is called the Breviary.
After the 2nd Vatican Council, reforms were instituted so that all the People of God, including the religious and the laity participate in these prayers.
The 150 Psalms are read on a 4-week cycle instead of a 1-week cycle. It also incorporates other Bible texts, hymns and prayers based on the Scriptures.
The common term used now is the Liturgy of the Hours to emphasize the purpose of the prayers, which is to sanctify the day and every activity of daily life in the modern world.
In its revised form, the prayers are fitted into the actual hours of people’s daily lives. Lauds or Morning Prayer and Vespers or Evening Prayer are the 2 most important prayers considered the double hinges of the Liturgy of the Hours.
“Those taking part in the liturgy of the hours have access to holiness of the richest kind through the life-giving word of God, which in this liturgy receives great emphasis.”
“In the Hours, the royal priesthood of the baptized is exercised, and this sacrifice of praise is thus connected to the sacrifice of the Eucharist, both preparing for and flowing from the Mass.”