Thursday, December 18, 2008

Catholic daily prayer schedule "Divine Office"

Many Christians, including Catholics themselves, grew up in modern times where they do not realize that the Church has a very rich prayer life and schedule.

The principle way that Catholics pray is to attend the Holy Mass. The Divine Office, which is the name of the daily prayer schedule, is the second most important means of prayer. Observance of the Divine Office is binding upon the religious orders of the Church, many of whom attempt to pray at least part of the Divine Office each day. Here is the schedule and the traditional names.

Matins prayers of the night
Lauds the morning praises
Prime morning prayer
Terce prayer of the third hour
Sext prayer of the sixth hour
None prayer of the ninth hour
Vespers the evening Office
Compline end of the Office, evening prayer

For example, we frequently see the Pope conduct Vespers during his travels, and special presentations of that one of the eight parts of the Daily Office may be broadcast on TV coverage such as on the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN).

Speaking of EWTN, when I have been in Birmingham, Alabama I have attended the morning prayer (before Mass) and Vespers.

I mention this today to encourage Catholics to understand that laity were much more prayerful than they are today, to explain to other Christians that Catholic doctrine is far more prayerful than most of you realize, and to give a friendly wave to my Muslim readers, so they know another thing our faiths have in common (and that is one reason why I enjoyed hearing the call to prayer when I spent some time in Turkey back in 1995).

I hope you have found this interesting and also a gentle nudge toward a more prayerful mindset during the day ;-)