Liturgy of the Hours

After the reforms of Vatican II this name was given to the Divine Office or the « work of God » (Opus Dei), prayer that accompanies the passage of time throughout the day and night. This prayer is firstly the work of Christ: «taking human nature (he) introduced in our earthly exile that hymn which is sung eternally in the heavenly realms » (GILH). In celebrating the divine office, the believer is united with Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and makes each moment a gift to God, the Creator of time. The tradition has retained for the universal Church a common form for the different hours using the Word contained in the Bible, singing Psalms and Canticles, proclaiming scripture readings, as well as reading the writings of saints. In the morning, the Church, and in particular religious, celebrate a prayer of praise and blessing called Lauds; they then mark the third, the sixth and the ninth hour of the day by short celebrations (terce, sext, none); at night, they celebrate a prayer of offering and thanksgiving at sunset, Vespers; before bedtime, they sing Compline, the last prayer before the night; at the heart of this, they celebrate Matins. Clerics, religious, monks, and nuns are officially nominated to celebrate these services on behalf of the whole Church. In the Order of Preachers, this celebration is held publicly, in the conventual churches.