of the


Congregation for Divine Worship, 2 February 1971 Institutio generalis de Liturgia Horarum SCCD Institutionem generalem de Liturgia Horarum publici iuris fecit Die 2 februarii 1971

Spirituality: 1-33; Psalmody (100-125); Sacred Silence (201-203)

in the


1. Public and common prayer by the people of God is rightly considered to be among the primary duties of the Church. From the very beginning those who were baptized “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the community, to the breaking of the bread, and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). The Acts of the Apostles give frequent testimony to the fact that the Christian community prayed with one accord. (See Acts 1:14, 4:24, 12:5 and 12. See also Eph 5:19-21. )

I. Publica et communis oratio populi Dei inter munera Ecclesiac primaria merito habetur. Inde ab initio qui baptizati stint « erant perseverantes in doctrina Apostolorum et communione, fractione panis et orationibus » (Act. 2,42). Pluries autem Actus Apostolorum testantur communitatem christianam unanimiter oravisse.

The witness of the early Church teaches us that individual Christians devoted themselves to prayer at fixed times. Then, in different places, it soon became the established practice to assign special times for common prayer, for example, the last hour of the day when evening draws on and the lamp is lighted, or the first hour when night draws to a close with the rising of the sun.

Singulos quoque fideles certis horis in orationem incubuisse Ecclesiae primaevae testimonia docent. In variis deinde regionibus consuetudo mox invaluit peculiaria tempora communi precationi destinandi, veluti postremam diei horam, cum advesperascit ac lucerna accenditur, vel primam, cum nox sub diurni sideris ortum vergit ad finem.

In the course of time other hours came to be sanctified by prayer in common. These were seen by the Fathers as foreshadowed in the Acts of the Apostles. There we read of the disciples gathered together at the third hour. (See Acts 2:1-15. ) The prince of the apostles “went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour” (10:9); “Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour” (3:1); “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (16:25).

Decurrente autem tempore, precatione communi sanctifica bantur ceterae quoque Horae, quas Patres in Actibus Aposta lorum adumbratas legebant. Ibidem enim discipuli perhiben• tur hora tertia congregati. Apostolorum Princeps « ascendil in superiora ut oraret circa horam sextam » (10, 9); « Petrus et Ioannes ascendebant in templum ad horam orationis na nam » (3, 1); « media ... nocte Paulus et Silas orantes laudabant Deum » (16, 25).

2. Such prayer in common gradually took the form of a set cycle of hours. This liturgy of the hours or divine office, enriched by readings, is principally a prayer of praise and petition. Indeed, it is the prayer of the Church with Christ and to Christ.

2. Huiusmodi orationes in communi peractae paulatim ad mu dum definiti Horarum cursus instruebantur. Haec Liturgia Horarum seu Officium divinum, lectionibus quoque ditata est praecipue oratio laudis et deprecationis, et quidem oratic Ecclesiae cum Christo et ad Christum.

Chapter I-I. Prayer of Christ


Christ The Intercessor With The Father

Christus exorator Patris.

3. When the Word, proceeding from the Father as the splendor of his glory, came to give us all a share in God’s life, “Christ Jesus, High Priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile the hymn of praise that is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven.” (SC art. 83.  From then on in Christ’s heart the praise of God assumes a human sound in words of adoration, expiation, and intercession, presented to the Father by the Head of the new humanity, the Mediator between God and his people, in the name of all and for the good of all.

3. Cum venit ad Dei vitam hominibus impertiendam, Verbuni quod a Patre procedit ut splendor gloriae eius, « summus Novi atque Aeterni Testamenti sacerdos, Christus Iesus, humanarr naturam assumens, terrestri huic exsilio hymnum ilium invexit qui in supernis sedibus per omne aevum canitur ». 3 Exinde in corde Christi laus Dei resonat verbis humanis adorationis propitiationis et intercessionis: quae omnia novae humanitatil princeps et Mediator Dei et hominum nomine et in bonurr omnium Patri exhibet.

4. In his goodness the Son of God, who is one with his Father (see Jn 10:30) and who on entering the world said: “Here I am! I come, God, to do your will” (Heb 10:9; see Jn 6:38), has left us the lesson of his own prayer. The Gospels many times show us Christ at prayer: when his mission is revealed by the Father; (cf. Lk 3:21-22.) before he calls the apostles; (cf. Lk 6:12) when he blesses God at the multiplication of the loaves; (cf. Mt 14:19, 15:36; Mk 6:41, 8:7; Lk 9:16; Jn 6:11) when he is transfigured on the mountain; (cf. Lk 9:28-29) when he heals the deaf-mute; (cf. Mk 7:34) when he raises Lazarus; (cf. Jn 11:41ff) before he asks for Peter’s confession of faith; (cf. Lk 9:18) when he teaches the disciples how to pray; (Lk 11:11)when the disciples return from their mission; (cf. Mt 11:25.ff; Lk 10:21ff) when he blesses the little children; (cf. Mt 19:13) when he prays for Peter. (cf. Lk 22:32)

4. Ipse autem Filius Dei, « qui cum Patre suo unum est » (cf. Io 10, 30) et ingrediens mundum dixit: « Ecce vcnio ut taciam Deus, voluntatem tuam » (Hebr. 10,9; cf. Io. 6, 38), orationit suae dignatus est etiam documenta concedere. Saepissime enirr eum orantem referunt Evangelia: cum eius missio a Patre re velatur, 4 antequam Apostolos vocet, ° cum Deum in panis mul tiplicatione benedicit, “ cum transfiguratur in monte,’ curr surdum mutumque sanat 8 et Lazarum resuscitat, “ antequarr a Petro confessionem postulet,10 cum discipulos docei orare,’1 cum discipuli a missione revertuntur, 72 cum parvulo: benedicit’3 et pro Petro rogat.

The work of each day was closely bound up with his prayer, indeed flowed out from it: he would retire into the desert or into the hills to pray, (cf. Mk 1:35, 6:46; Lk 5:16. cf. also Mt 4:1 & pl.; Mt 14:23) rise very early (cf. Mk 1:35) or spend the night up to the fourth watch (cf. Mt 14:23 and 25; Mk 6:46 and 48) in prayer to God. (cf. Lk 6:12)

Cotidiana eius navitas arcte cum oratione nectebatur; quin et iam ex ea quasi fluebat, cum ipse in desertum vel in monterr secedebat ut oraret, 15 diluculo valde surgens 16 aut sero usque ad quartam vigiliam noctis 19 pernoctans in oratione Dei.

We are right in thinking that he took part both in public prayers: in the synagogues, which he entered on the Sabbath “as his custom was;” (cf. Lk 4:16) in the temple, which he called a house of prayer; (cf. Mt 21:13 & pl) and in the private prayers that for devout Israelites were a daily practice. He used the traditional blessings of God at meals, as is expressly mentioned in connection with the multiplication of the loaves, (cf. Mt 14:19 & pl.; Mt 15:36 & pl) the last supper (cf. Mt 26:26 & pl) and the meal at Emmaus. (cf. Lk 24:30) He also joined with the disciples in a hymn of praise. (cf. Mt 26:30 & pl)

Ipse quoque, ut merito creditur, partem habuit in precibus tum iis, quae publice fundebantur et in synagogis, quas intravit die sabbati « secundum consuetudinem suam », 19 et in ternplo quod domum orationis appellavit, 2° tum iis, quae privatim a piis Israelitis de more cotidie recitabantur. Proferebat etiam traditas benedictiones Dei in cenis, ut expresse narratur in multiplicatione panis, 2’ in Cena sua novissima, 22 in cena Em-maus; 23 similiter cum discipulis hymnum dixit.

To the very end of his life, as his passion was approaching, (cf. Jn 12:27ff) at the last supper, (cf. Jn 17:1-26) in the agony in the garden, (cf. Mt 26:36-44 & pl) and on the cross, (cf. Lk 23:34 and 46; Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34) the divine teacher showed that prayer was the soul of his Messianic ministry and paschal death. “In the days of his life on earth he offered up prayers and entreaties with loud cries and tears to the one who could deliver him from death and because of his reverence his prayer was heard” (Heb 5:7). By a single offering on the altar of the cross “he has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb 10-14). Raised from the dead, he lives for ever, making intercession for us. (cf. Heb 7:25)

Usque ad extremum vitae, appropinquante iam Passione, 25 in novissima Cena, 26 in agonia 2’ et in cruce 28 orationem divinus Magister ostendit id esse quod ministerium suum messianicum, et paschalem exitum animaret. Ipse enim « in diebus carnis suae preces, supplicationesque ed eum, qui possit ilium [22] salvum facere a morte cum clamore valido et lacrimis offerens, exauditus est pro sua reverentia » (Hehr. 5, 7), et perfecta oblatione in ara crucis « consummavit in sempiternum sanctificatos » (Hebr. 10,14); suscitatus denique a mortuis, semper vivit et orat pro nobis.

Chapter I-II. Prayer of the Church


Command to Pray

Praeceptum orationi.

5. Jesus has commanded us to do as he did. On many occasions he said: “Pray,” “ask,” “seek” (Mt 5:44, 7:7, 26:41; Mk 13:33, 14:38; Lk 6:28, 10:2, 11:9, 22:40 and 46) “in my name.” (Jn 14:13ff., 15:16, 16:23ff. and 26) He taught us how to pray in what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. (cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4) He taught us that prayer is necessary, (cf. Lk 18:1) that it should be humble, (cf. Lk 18:9-14) watchful, (cf. Lk 21:36; Mk 13:33) persevering, confident in the Father’s goodness, (cf. Lk 11:5-13,18:1-8; Jn 14:13, 16:23) single-minded, and in conformity with God’s nature. (cf. Mt 6:5-8, 23:14; Lk 20:47; Jn 4:23)

5. lesus, quod ipse fecit, nobis quoque facere praecepit. « Orate » enim saepe dixit, « rogate « petite », 3° « in nomine meo »; 81 formam etiam precandi tradidit in oratione quae dominica dicitur, 62 et orationem monuit esse necessariam, S3 et quidem humilem, 64 vigilantem,” perseverantem et in bonitate Patris confidentem, b6 intention puram et Dei naturae consentaneam. 97.

Here and there in their letters the apostles have handed on to us many prayers, particularly of praise and thanks. They instruct us on prayer in the Holy Spirit, (cf. Rom 8:15 and 26; 1 Cor 12:3; Gal 4:6; Jude 20) through Christ, (cf. 2 Cor 1:20; Col 3:17) offered to God, (cf. Heb 13:15) as to its persistence and constancy, (cf. Rom 12:12; 1 Cor 7:5; Eph 6:18; Col 4:2; 1 Thes 5:17; 1 Tm 5:5; 1 Pt 4:7) its power to sanctify, (cf. 1 Tm 4:5; Jas 5:15ff.; 1 Jn 3:22, 5:14ff) and on prayer of praise, (cf. Eph 5:19ff.; Heb 13:15; Rv 19:5) thanks, (cf. Col 3:17; Phil 4:6; 1 Thes 5:17; 1 Tm 2:1) petition, (cf. Rom 8:26; Phil 4:6) and intercession for all. (cf. Rom 15:30; 1 Tm 2:1ff.; Eph 6:18; 1 Thes 5:25; Jas 5:14 and 16)

Apostoli vero, qui in Epistolis passim orationes, praesertim laudis et gratiarum actionis, nobis tradunt, et ipsi nos monent de orationis in Spiritu Sancto, 38 per Christum 39 Deo oblatae, 40 instantia et assiduitate 41 deque eius efficaci vi ad sanctificatio[23]nem 42 necnon de oratione laudis, 43 gratiarum actionis, 44 petitionis 45 et pro omnibus intercessions.

Christ’s Prayer Continued by the Church

Orationem Christi Ecclesia continuat.

6. Since we are entirely dependent on God, we must acknowledge and express this sovereignty of the Creator, as the devout people of every age have done by means of prayer.

6. Cum homo totus a Deo sit, hanc Creatoris sui dominationem agnoscere et fateri debet, quod pii homines omnium temporum orando revera fecerunt.

Prayer directed to God must be linked with Christ, the Lord of all, the one Mediator (cf. 1 Tm 2:5; Heb 8:6, 9:15, 12:24) through whom alone we have access to God. (cf. Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18, 3:12) He unites to himself the whole human community (cf. SC art. 83) in such a way that there is an intimate bond between the prayer of Christ and the prayer of all humanity. In Christ and in Christ alone human worship of God receives its redemptive value and attains its goal.

Oratio vero, quae ad Deum dirigitur, conectatur oportet cum Christo omnium hominum Domino, unico Mediatore, 44 per quem solum habemus accessum ad Deum. 48 Ipse enim ita universam hominum communitatem sibi coagmentat, 40 ut intima vigeat necessitudo inter orationem Christi atque orationem totius generis humani. Nam in Christo in coque solo religio humana pretium salutiferum finemque attingit.

7. There is a special and very close bond between Christ and those whom he makes members of his Body, the Church, through the sacrament of rebirth. Thus, from the Head all the riches belonging to the Son flow throughout the whole Body: the communication of the Spirit, the truth, the life, and the participation in the divine sonship that Christ manifested in all his prayer when he dwelt among us.

7. Specialis tarnen atque arctissima necessitudo inter Christum intercedit illosque homines, quos tamquam membra in suum corpus, quod est Ecclesia, per sacramentum regenerationis assumit. Sic enim a capite in totum corpus diffunduntur omnes divitiae, quae sunt Filai: communicatio nempe Spiritus, veritas, vita et participatio eius divinae filiationis, quae in tota eius oratione, cum apud nos degeret, manifestabatur.

Christ’s priesthood is also shared by the whole Body of the Church, so that the baptized are consecrated as a spiritual temple and holy priesthood through the rebirth of baptism and the anointing by the Holy Spirit (cf. LG no. 10) and are empowered to offer the worship of the New Covenant, a worship that derives not from our own powers but from Christ’s merit and gift.

Sacerdotium etiam Christi a toto corpore Ecclesiae participatur, ita ut baptizati per regenerationem et Spiritus Sancti unctionem consecrentur [24] in domum spiritualem et sacerdotium sanctum, 60 fiantque capaces Novi Testamenti cultus, qui non e viribus nostris, sed e Christi merito ac donatione procedit.

“God could give us no greater gift than to establish as our Head the Word through whom he created all things and to unite us to that Head as members. The results are many The Head is Son of God and Son of Man, one as God with the Father and one as man with us. When we speak in prayer to the Father, we do not separate the Son from him and when the Son’s Body prays it does not separate itself from its Head. It is the one Savior of his Body, the Lord Christ Jesus, who prays for us and in us and who is prayed to by us. He prays for us as our priest, in us as our Head; he is prayed to by us as our God. Recognize therefore our own voice in him and his voice in us.” (Augustine, Enarrat. in Ps. 85, 1: CCL 39, 1176)

« Nullum maius donum praestare posset Deus hominibus, quam ut Verbum suum, per quod condidit omnia, faceret illis caput, et illos ei tamquam membra coaptaret, ut esset Filius Dei et Filius hominis, unus Deus cum Patre, unus homo cum hominibus, ut et quando loquimur ad Deum deprecantes, non inde Filium separemus, et quando precatur corpus Filii, non a se separet caput suum, sitque ipse unus salvator corporis sui Dominus poster Tesus Christus Filius Dei, qui et oret pro nobis, et oret in nobis, et oretur a nobis. Orat pro nobis ut sacerdos poster, orat in nobis ut caput nostrum, oratur a nobis ut Deus noster. Agnoscamus ergo et in illo voces nostras et voces eius in nobis ».5,

The excellence of Christian prayer lies in its sharing in the reverent love of the only-begotten Son for the Father and in the prayer that the Son put into words in his earthly life and that still continues without ceasing in the name of the whole human race and for its salvation, throughout the universal Church and in all its members.

In eo igitur posita est christianae dignitas orationis, ut ipsam Unigeniti pietatem erga Patrem eamque orationem participet, quam ille in vita terrestri verbis expressit, quaeque nunc, no-mine quoque et in salutem totius generis humani, in universa Ecclesia et in omnibus eius membris indesinenter perseverat.

Action of the Holy Spirit

Actio Spiritus Sancti

8. The unity of the Church at prayer is brought about by the Holy Spirit, who is the same in Christ, (cf. Lk 10:21, the occasion when Jesus “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: ‘I thank you, Father...’”) in the whole Church, and in every baptized person. It is this Spirit who “helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for us with longings too deep for words” (Rom 8:26). As the Spirit of the Son, he gives us “the spirit of adopted children, by which we cry out: Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15; see Gal 4:6; 1 Cor 12:3; Eph 5:18; Jude 20). There can be therefore no Christian prayer without the action of the Holy Spirit, who unites the whole Church and leads it through the Son to the Father.

8. Unitas vero orantis Ecclesiae a Spiritu Sancto efficitur, qui idem est in Christo,” in tota Ecclesia et in singulis baptizatis. Ipse « Spiritus adiuvat infirmitatem nostram » et « postulat pro nobis gemitibus inenarrabilibus » (Rom. 8, 26); ipse, utpote Spiritus Filii, ingerit nobis « spiritum adoptionis filiorum, in quo clamamus: abba, Pater » (Rom. 8,15; [25] cf. Gal. 4,6; 1 Cor. 12, 3; Eph. 5,18; Iud. 20). Nulla ergo oratio christiana haberi potest sine Sancti Spiritus actione, qui, totam Ecclesiam uniens, per Filium ducat ad Patrem.

Community Character of Prayer

Indoles communitaria orations.

9. It follows that the example and precept of our Lord and the apostles in regard to constant and persevering prayer are not to be seen as a purely legal regulation. They belong to the very essence of the Church itself, which is a community and which in prayer must express its nature as a community. Hence, when the community of believers is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, it is seen as a community gathered together at prayer “with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). “There was one heart and soul in the company of those who believed” (Acts 4:32). Their oneness in spirit was founded on the word of God, on the communion of charity, on prayer, and on the eucharist. (cf. Acts 2:42 Gr)

9. Exemplum proinde et praeceptum Domini atque Apostolorum semper et instanter orandi habenda sunt non tamquam regula mere legalis, sed pertinent ad intimam essentiam ipsius Ecclesiae, quae communitas est quaeque indolem suam cornmunitariam orando quoque debet declarare. Hinc in Actibus Apostolorum, cum primum de communitate fidelium sermo fit, congregata ipsa in actu orationis apparet « cum mulieribus et Maria Matre Iesu et fratribus eius » (Act. 1,14). « Multitudinis autem credentium erat cor unum et anima una » (Act. 4,32), quorum unanimitas verbo Dei, communione fraterna, oratione et Eucharistia innitebatur. Rs

Though prayer in private and in seclusion (cf. Mt 6:6) is always necessary and to be encouraged (cf. SC art. 12) and is practiced by the members of the Church through Christ in the Holy Spirit, there is a special excellence in the prayer of the community. Christ himself has said: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst” (Mt 18:20).

Licet autem oratio, quae fit in cubiculo et clauso ostio, b4 semper quidem necessaria et commendanda, F5 a membris Ecclesiae per Christum in Spiritu Sancto peragatur, orationi tamen communitatis dignitas competit specialis, cum ipse Christus dixerit: « Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum » (Mt. 18, 20).



Consecration of Time

Consecratio ternporis.

10. Christ taught us: “You must pray at all times and not lose heart” (Lk 18:1). The Church has been faithful in obeying this instruction; it never ceases to offer prayer and makes this exhortation its own: “Through him (Jesus) let us offer to God an unceasing sacrifice of praise” (Heb 15:15). The Church fulfills this precept not only by celebrating the eucharist but in other ways also, especially through the liturgy of the hours. By ancient Christian tradition what distinguishes the liturgy of the hours from other liturgical services is that it consecrates to God the whole cycle of the day and the night. (cf. SC art. 83-84)

10. Cum Christus praeceperit: « Oportet semper orare et non deficere » (Lc. 18,1), Ecclesia, huic admonitioni fideliter obtemperans, preces fundere [26] numquam intermittit atque hisce verbis nos adhortatur: « Per ipsum (Iesum) offeramus hostiam laudis semper Deo » (Hebr. 13,15). Huic praecepto satisfit non tantum Eucharistia celebranda, sed etiam aliis modis, praesertim Liturgia Horarum, cuius inter alias liturgicas actiones id ex antiqua traditione christiana proprium est, ut totus per earn cursus diei ac noctis consecretur.58

11. The purpose of the liturgy of the hours is to sanctify the day and the whole range of human activity. Therefore its structure has been revised in such a way as to make each hour once more correspond as nearly as possible to natural time and to take account of the circumstances of life today. (cf. SC art. 88)

11. Quoniam ergo sanctificatio diei totiusque operositatis humanae ad finem pertinet Liturgiae Horarum, eius cursus ita instauratus est, ut Horis veritas temporis, quantum fieri pos-set, redderetur, simulque ratio haberetur hodiernae vitae condicionum. 5 r

Hence, “that the day may be truly sanctified and the hours themselves recited with spiritual advantage, it is best that each of them be prayed at a time most closely corresponding to the true time of each canonical hour.” (cf. SC art. 94)

Quare « praestat sive ad diem revera sanctificandum, sive ad ipsas Horas cum fructu spirituali recitandas, ut in Horarum absolutione tempus servetur, quod proxime accedat ad tempus verum uniuscuiusque Horae canonicae ». 5`

Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist

Ratio inter Liturgiam Horarum et Eucharistiam

12. To the different hours of the day the liturgy of the hours extends (cf. PO no. 5) the praise and thanksgiving, the memorial of the mysteries of salvation, the petitions and the foretaste of heavenly glory that are present in the eucharistic mystery, “the center and high point in the whole life of the Christian community.” (CD no. 30)

12. Liturgia Horarum dilatat 59 ad varias diei boras laudes et gratiarum actiones, necnon memoriam mysteriorum salutis, deprecationes ac caelestis praelibationem gloriae, quae praebentur in mysterio eucharistico, quod est « centrum et culmen totius vitae communitatis christianae ». 89

The liturgy of the hours is in turn an excellent preparation for the celebration of the eucharist itself, for it inspires and deepens in a fitting way the dispositions necessary for the fruitful celebration of the eucharist: faith, hope, love, devotion, and the spirit of self-denial.

Eucharistiae vero celebratio per Liturgiam Horarum et ipsa optime praeparatur, cum dispositio[27]nes ad fructuosam Eucharistiae celebrationem necessariae, ut sunt fides, spes, caritas, devotio seseque abnegandi studium, a ea congrue excitentur et alantur.

Priesthood of Christ in the Liturgy of the Hours

Christi sacerdotalis muneris exercitatio in Liturgia Horarum.

13. In the Holy Spirit Christ carries out through the Church “the task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God,” (SC art. 5) not only when the eucharist is celebrated and the sacraments administered but also in other ways and especially when the liturgy of the hours is celebrated. (cf. SC art. 83 and 98) There Christ himself is present - in the gathered community, in the proclamation of God’s word, “in the prayer and song of the Church.” (SC art. 7)

13. « Humanae redemptionis et perfectae Dei glorificationis opus » °1 Christus in Spiritu Sancto per Ecclesiam suam exercet non tantum cum Eucharistia celebratur et sacramenta administrantur, sed etiam, prae ceteris modis, cum Liturgia Hora-rum persolvitur. 62 In ea ipse praesens adest, dum coetus congregatur, dum verbum Dei profertur, « dum supplicat et psallit Ecclesia ». B3

Sanctification of God’s People

Sanctificatio hominis.

14. Our sanctification is accomplished (cf. SC art. 10) and worship is offered to God in the liturgy of the hours in such a way that an exchange or dialogue is set up between God and us, in which “God is speaking to his people ... and his people are responding to him by both song and prayer.” (SC art. 33)

14. Ita auteur sanctificatio hominis efficitur “1 et Dei cultus exercetur in Liturgia Horarum, ut in ea quasi commercium instituatur seu dialogus ille inter Deum et homines, quo « Deus ad populum suum loquitur, ... populus vero Deo respondet tum cantibus turn oration ». 85

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. Thus its readings are drawn from sacred Scripture, God’s words in the psalms are sung in his presence, and the intercessions, prayers, and hymns are inspired by Scripture and steeped in its spirit. (cf. SC art. 24)

Sanctificationem profecto uberrimam ex Liturgia Horarum assequi possunt participantes per salutare Dei verbum, quod in ea magnum momentum obtinet. Ex sacra enim Scriptura lectiones fiunt, Dei verba in psalmis tradita in conspectu eius canuntur, atque eius afflatu instinctuque aliae preces, orationes et carmina perfunduntur. “

Hence, not only when those things are read “that are written for our instruction” (Rom 15:4), but also when the Church prays or sings, faith is deepened for those who take part and their minds are lifted up to God, in order to offer him their worship as intelligent beings and to receive his grace more plentifully. (cf. SC art. 33)

[28] Non solum ergo quando leguntur ea quae « ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt » (Rom. 15, 4), sed etiam dum Ecclesia orat vel canit, participantium fides alitur, mentes in Deum commoventur, ut rationabile obsequium ei praestent gratiamque eius abundantius recipiant.87

Praising God With the Church in Heaven

Laus Deo tributa, in unione cum Ecclesia caelesti.

15. In the liturgy of the hours the Church exercises the priestly office of its Head and offers to God “without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17) a sacrifice of praise, that is, a tribute of lips acknowledging his name. (cf. Heb 13:15) This prayer is “the voice of a bride addressing her bridegroom; it is the very prayer that Christ himself, together with his Body, addresses to the Father.” (SC art. 84) “All who render this service are not only fulfilling a duty of the Church, but also are sharing in the greatest honor of Christ’s Bride for by offering these praises to God they are standing before God’s throne in the name of the Church, their Mother.” (SC art. 85)

15. In Liturgia Horarum Ecclesia, sacerdotale Capitis sui mu-nus exercens, « sine intermissione » B8 Deo hostiam laudis offert, id est fructum labiorum confitentium nomini eius. 89 Haec oratio est « vox ipsius Sponsae, quae Sponsum alloquitur, immo etiam oratio Christi cum ipsius Corpore ad Patrem ». 70 « Omnes proinde qui haec praestant, tum Ecclesiae officium expient, turn summum Sponsae Christi honorera participant, quia laudes Deo persolventes stant ante thronum Dei nomine Matris Ecclesiae ». 71

16. When the Church offers praise to God in the liturgy of the hours, it unites itself with that hymn of praise sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven; (cf. SC art. 83) it also receives a foretaste of the song of praise in heaven, described by John in the Book of Revelation, the song sung continually before the throne of God and of the Lamb. Our close union with the Church in heaven is given effective voice “when we all, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation redeemed by Christ’s blood (see Rv 5:9) and gathered together into the one Church, glorify the triune God with one hymn of praise.” (LG no. 50; SC art. 8 and 104)

16. Laudem in Horis Deo tribuens, Ecclesia illi concinendo lau-dis carmini consociatur, quod in supernis sedibus omne per aevum canitur; 72 praegustat simul caelestem illam a Ioanne in Apocalypsi descriptam, quae assidue ante sedem Dei et Agni resonat. Arcta enim coniunctio nostra cum Ecclesia caelesti ad effectum deducitur, cum « divinae maiestatis laudem socia exsultatione concelebramus, et universi, in sanguine Christi ex omni tribu et lingua et populo et natione redempti (cf. Ap. 5, 9) atque in [29] unam Ecclesiam congregati, uno cantico laudis Deum unum et trinum magnificamus ». 73

The prophets came almost to a vision of this liturgy of heaven as the victory of a day without night, of a light without darkness: “The sun will no more be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine upon you, but the Lord will be your everlasting light” (Is 60:19; see Rv 21:23 and 25). “There will be a single day, known to the Lord, not day and night, and at evening there will be light” (Zech 14:7). Already “the end of the ages has come upon us (see I Cor 10:11) and the renewal of the world has been irrevocably established and in a true sense is being anticipated in this world.” (LG no. 48) By faith we too are taught the meaning of our temporal life, so that we look forward with all creation to the revealing of God’s children. (cf. Rom 8:19) In the liturgy of the hours we proclaim this faith, we express and nourish this hope, we share in some degree the joy of everlasting praise and of that day that knows no setting.

Quam caelestem liturgiam Prophetae in victoria diei sine nocte, lucis sine tenebris fere praeviderunt: « Non erit tibi amplius sol ad lucendum per diem, nec splendor lunae illuminabit te, sed erit tibi Dominus in lucem sempiternam » (Is. 60, 19; cf. Ap. 21, 23.25). « Erit dies una, quae nota est Domino, non dies neque nox, et in tempore vesperi erit lux » (Zac. 14, 7). lam vero « fines saeculorum ad nos pervenerunt (cf. 1 Cor. 10,11) et renovatio mundi irrevocabiliter est constituta atque in hoc saeculo reali quodam modo anticipatur ». “ Nos ita per fidem de sensu etiam vitae nostrae temporalis edocemur, ut cum omnibus creaturis revelationem filiorum Dei exspectemus.75 In Liturgia vero Horarum hanc fidem proclamamus, hanc spem exprimimus et alimus, gaudium perpetuae laudis et diei, qui nescit occasum, quodammodo participamus.

Petition and Intercession

Deprecatio et intercessio.

17. But besides the praise of God, the Church in the liturgy of the hours expresses the prayers and desires of all the faithful; indeed, it prays to Christ, and through him to the Father, for the salvation of the whole world. (cf. SC art. 83) The Church’s voice is not just its own; it is also Christ’s voice, since its prayers are offered in Christ’s name, that is, “through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and so the Church continues to offer the prayer and petition that Christ poured out in the days of his earthly life (cf. Heb 5:7) and that have therefore a unique effectiveness. The ecclesial community thus exercises a truly maternal function in bringing souls to Christ, not only by charity, good example, and works of penance but also by prayer. (cf. PO no. 6)

17. At praeter Dei laudem, Ecclesia in Liturgia vota et desideria omnium Christifidelium refert, immo pro totius mundi salute Christum et, per eu1n, Patrem interpellat.78 Quae vox non est tantum Ecclesiae, sed etiam Christi, cum preces proferantur Christi nomine, hoc est « per Dolninum nostrum Iesum Christum », et sic Ecclesia eas preces supplicationesque facere pergat, quas Christus effudit in diebus carnis suae, quaeque idcirco singulari effica[30]citate poilent. Itaque non tantum caritate, exemplo et paenitentiae operibus, sed etiam oratione ecclesialis communitas verum erga animas ad Christum adducendas maternuln munus exercet.78

The concern with prayer involves those especially who have been called by a special mandate to carry out the liturgy of the hours: bishops and priests as they pray in virtue of their office for their own people and for the whole people of God; (cf. LG no. 41) other sacred ministers, and also religious. (cf. no. 24 of this Instruction)

Quae res praesertim ad omnes attinet, qui ad Liturgiam Hora-rum persolvendam speciali mandato vocati sunt: episcopi videlicet et presbyteri, pro plebe sua ac toto Dei populo ex officio precantes, 79 aliique ministri sacri necnon religiosi. 8°

Culmination and Source of Pastoral Activity

Culmen et fons actionis pastorales.

18. Those then who take part in the liturgy of the hours bring growth to God’s people in a hidden but fruitful apostolate, (cf. no. 24 of this Instruction) for the work of the apostolate is directed to this end, “that all who are made children of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of this Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s Supper.” (SC art. 10)

18. Qui ergo in Liturgia Horarum partem habent, plebem dominicam arcana fecunditate apostolica dilatant; 81 labores enim apostolici ad id ordinantur, « ut omnes, per fidem et baptismurn filii Dei facti, in unum conveniant, in medio Ecclesiae Deum laudent, sacrificium participent et cenam dominicam manducent ». 82

Thus by their lives the faithful show forth and reveal to others “the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church to be visible yet endowed with invisible resources, eager to act yet intent on contemplation, present in this world yet not at home in it.” (SC art. 2)

Sic fideles vivendo exprimunt et aliis manifestant « mysterium Christi et genuinam verae Ecclesiae naturam, cuius proprium est esse ... visibilem invisibilibus praeditam, actione ferventem et contemplationi vacantem, in mundo praesentem et tarnen peregrinam » . 92

In their turn the readings and prayers of the liturgy of the hours form a wellspring of the Christian life: the table of sacred Scripture and the writings of the saints nurture its life and prayers strengthen it. Only the Lord, without whom we can do nothing, (cf. Jn 15:5) can, in response to our request, give power and increase to what we do, (cf. SC art. 86) so that we may be built up each day in the Spirit into the temple of God, (cf. Eph 2:21-22) to the measure of Christ’s fullness, (cf. Eph 4:13) and receive greater strength also to bring the good news of Christ to those outside. (cf. SC art. 2)

Vicissim lectiones et preces Liturgiae Horarum fontem vitae christianae efficiunt. E mensa enim sacrae Scripturae et verbis Sanctorum vita illa nutritur, precibus vero roboratur. Nam Do-minus solus, sine quo nihil facere possumus, 8” a nobis rogatus, [31] operibus nostris efficacitatem et incrementum dare potest, 8.’i ita ut cotidie aedificemur in templum Dei in Spiritu, 86 usque ad mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi, 8r simulque vires nostras roboremus ad Christum evangelizandum iis, qui foris sunt.88

Harmony of Mind and Voice

Mens concordet voci.

19. Mind and voice must be in harmony in a celebration that is worthy, attentive, and devout, if this prayer is to be made their own by those taking part and to be a source of devotion, a means of gaining God’s manifold grace, a deepening of personal prayer, and an incentive to the work of the apostolate. (cf. SC art. 90. Rule of St. Benedict ch. 19) All should be intent on cooperating with God’s grace, so as not to receive it in vain. Seeking Christ, penetrating ever more deeply into his mystery through prayer (cf. PO no. 14; OT no. 8) they should offer praise and petition to God with the same mind and heart as the divine Redeemer when he prayed.

19. Ut autem oratio illa sit propria uniuscuiusque eorum, qui earn participant, itemque fons pietatis et multiplicis gratiae divinae, atque orationis personalis actionisque apostolicae nutrimentum, oportet ut in ea digne, attente ac devote persolvenda mens ipsa voci concordet.89 Supernae gratiae seduli omnes cooperentur, ne earn in vacuum recipiant. Christum quaerentes, eiusque mysterium oratione semper intimius penetrantes, 90 Deum laudent supplicationesque fundant eadem illa mente, qui divinus ipse Redemptor precabatur.



Celebration in Common

a) De celebratione in communi agenda.

20. The liturgy of the hours, like other liturgical services, is not a private matter but belongs to the whole Body of the Church, whose life it both expresses and affects. (cf. SC art. 26) This liturgy stands out most strikingly as an ecclesial celebration when, through the bishop surrounded by his priests and ministers, (cf. SC art. 41) the local Church celebrates it. For “in the local Church the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is truly present and at work.” (CD no. 11) Such a celebration is therefore most earnestly recommended. When, in the absence of the bishop, a chapter of canons or other priests celebrate the liturgy of the hours, they should always respect the true time of day and, as far as possible, the people should take part. The same is to be said of collegiate chapters.

20. Liturgia Horarum, sicut ceterae actiones liturgicae, non est actio privata, sed ad universum corpus Ecclesiae pertinet, illudque manifestat et afficit.91 Eius vero ecclesialis celebratio tunc maxime elucet, ac proinde summopere suadetur, quando cum suo Episcopo, a presbyteris et ministris cir[32]cumdato, 92 illam peragit Ecclesia particularis, « in qua vere inest et operatur una sancta catholica et apostolica Christi Ecclesia ». 98 Quae celebratio, etiam cum, absente Episcopo, a capitulo canonicorum vel ab aliis presbyteris peragitur, semper fiat veritate temporis servata ac, quantum fieri potest, cum populi participatione. Quod dicendum est etiam de capitulis collegialibus.

21. Wherever possible, other groups of the faithful should celebrate the liturgy of the hours communally in church. This especially applies to parishes - the cells of the diocese, established under their pastors, taking the place of the bishop; they “represent in some degree the visible Church established throughout the world.” (cf. art. 42. cf. also AA no. 10)

21. Alii fidelium coetus, inter quos eminent paroeciae, velut dioecesis cellulae, localiter sub pastore vices Episcopi gerente ordinatae, quique « quodammodo repraesentant Ecclesiam visibilem per orbem terrarum constitutam », 94 Horas praecipuas, ubi fieri possit, in ecclesia communiter celebrent.

22. Hence, when the people are invited to the liturgy of the hours and come together in unity of heart and voice, they show forth the Church in its celebration of the mystery of Christ. (cf. SC art. 26 and 84)

22. Si ergo fideles ad Liturgiam Horarum convocantur et in unum conveniunt, corda et voces simul consociantes, manifestant Ecclesiam mysterium Christi celebrantem.95

23. Those in holy orders or with a special canonical mission (cf. AG no. 17) have the responsibility of initiating and directing the prayer of the community; “they should expend every effort so that those entrusted to their care may become of one mind in prayer.” (CD no. 15) They must therefore see to it that the people are invited, and prepared by suitable instruction, to celebrate the principal hours in common, especially on Sundays and holydays. (cf. SC art. 100) They should teach the people how to make this participation a source of genuine prayer; (cf. PO no. 5) they should therefore give the people suitable guidance in the Christian understanding of the psalms, in order to progress by degrees to a greater appreciation and more frequent use of the prayer of the Church. (cf. nos. 100-109 of this Instruction)

23. Munus autem eorum, qui sacro ordine insigniti vel peculiari missione canonica praediti sunt, 98 est indicere et dirigere orationem communitatis: « laborem impendant ut omnes quo-rum cura sibi est commissa, unanimes sint in oratione ».” Curent ergo ut fideles invitentur et debita catechesi formentur ad celebrandas in communi, diebus praesertim dominicis et festis, potiores Liturgiae Horarum partes.98 Eos edoceant sinceram orationem ex [33] eius participatione haurire, 89 ideoque per aptam institutionem illos dirigant ad psalmos sensu christiano intellegendos, ita ut gradatim ad ampliorem gustum et usum orationis Ecclesiae manuducantur.100

24. Communities of canons, monks, nuns, and other religious who celebrate the liturgy of the hours by rule or according to their constitutions, whether with the general rite or a particular rite, in whole or in part, represent in a special way the Church at prayer. They are a fuller sign of the Church as it continuously praises God with one voice and they fulfill the duty of “working,” above all by prayer, “to build up and increase the whole Mystical Body of Christ, and for the good of the local Churches.” (CD no. 33; cf, also PC nos. 6, 7, 15; AG no. 15) This is especially true of those living the contemplative life.

24. Communitates canonicorum, monachorum, monialium aliorumque religiosorum, quae vi Regulae vel Constitutionum, sive communi sive particulari ritu Liturgiam Horarum integre aut ex parte persolvunt, Ecclesiam orantem specialiter repraesentant: etenim exemplar Ecclesiae, quae sine intermissione concordi voce Dominum laudat, plenius exhibent et officium explent « adlaborandi », imprimis oratione, « ad aedificationem et incrementum totius mystici Corporis Christi et in bonum Ecclesiarum particularium ».101 Quod dicendum est praesertim de üs qui vitam contemplativam agunt.

25. Even when having no obligation to communal celebration, all sacred ministers and all clerics living in a community or meeting together should arrange to say at least some part of the liturgy of the hours in common, particularly morning prayer and evening prayer. (cf. SC art. 99)

25. Sacrorum administri et clerici omnes, qui non sunt aliunde celebratione communi astricti, conviventes vel in unum convenientes, curent ut aliquam saltem Liturgiae Horarum partetn in communi persolvant, pracsertim Laudes mane et Vesperas scro. 102

26. Men and women religious not bound to a common celebration, as well as members of any institute of perfection, are strongly urged to gather together, by themselves or with the people, to celebrate the liturgy of the hours or part of it.

26. Etiam religiosis utriusque sexus sodalibus, qui ad celebrationem in communi non obligantur, et cuiusvis Instituti perfectionis membris, cnixe suadetur ut in unum conveniant, seorsum vel cum populo, ad hanc Liturgiam vel eius partem celebrandam.

27. Lay groups gathering for prayer, apostolic work, or any other reason are encouraged to fulfill the Church’s duty, (cf. SC art. 100) by celebrating part of the liturgy of the hours. The laity must learn above all how in the liturgy they are adoring God the Father in spirit and in truth; (cf. Jn 4:23) they should bear in mind that through public worship and prayer they reach all humanity and can contribute significantly to the salvation of the whole world. (cf. GE no. 2; AA no. 16)

27. Laicorum coetus ubivis congregati invitantur ut Ecclesiae officium expleant,10 4 Liturgiae Horarum partem celebrantes, quacumque de causa, orationis, apostolatus, aliusve rationis sunt adunati. Oportet enim discant praeprimis in actione liturgica Deum Patrem in spiritu et veritate adorare,106 meminerintque se publico cultu et oratione omnes ho-mines attingere et ad totius mundi salutem non paulum con-ferre posse.

Finally, it is of great advantage for the family, the domestic sanctuary of the Church, not only to pray together to God but also to celebrate some parts of the liturgy of the hours as occasion offers, in order to enter more deeply into the life of the Church. (cf. AA no. 11)

Expedit denique ut familia, quasi domesticum sacrarium Ecclesiae, non tantum communes preces Deo fundat, sed etiam partes quasdam Liturgiae Horarum pro opportunitate persolvat, quo Ecclesiae arctius se inserat.106

Mandate to Celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours

b) De mandato Liturgiam Horarum celebrandi.

28. Sacred ministers have the liturgy of the hours entrusted to them in such a particular way that even when the faithful are not present they are to pray it themselves with the adaptations necessary under these circumstances. The Church commissions them to celebrate the liturgy of the hours so as to ensure at least in their persons the regular carrying out of the duty of the whole community and the unceasing continuance of Christ’s prayer in the Church. (cf. PO no. 13)

28. Sacrorum administris Liturgia Horarum tam peculiari modo concreditur, ut singulis, etiam cum populus abest, persolvenda sit, utique cum aptationibus exinde necessariis. b Eccle sia enim illos ad Liturgiam Horarum deputat, ut munus totius communitatis certe et constanter saltem per eos adimpleatur, et oratio Christi indesinenter perseveret in Ecclesia. 107

The bishop represents Christ in an eminent and conspicuous way and is the high priest of his flock; the life in Christ of his faithful people may be said in a sense to derive from him and depend on him. (cf. SC art. 41; LG no. 21) He should, then, be the first of all the members of his Church in offering prayer. His prayer in the recitation of the liturgy of the hours is always made in the name of the Church and on behalf of the Church entrusted to him. (cf. LG no. 26; CD no. 15)

Episcopus, utpote qui eminenti et aspectabili modo Christi personam gerat et sui gregis sacerdos magnus sit, a quo vita suorum fidelium in Christo quodammodo derivatur et pen det,10B primus in ora[35]tione inter Ecclesiae suae membra esse debet, eiusque oratio in Liturgiae Horarum recitatione semper Ecclesiae nomine ac pro Ecclesia sibi commissa peragitur. “9

United as they are with the bishop and the whole presbyterium, priests are themselves representative in a special way of Christ the Priest (cf. PO no. 13) and so share the same responsibility of praying to God for the people entrusted to them and indeed for the whole world. (cf. PO no. 5)

Presbyteri, cum episcopo cunctoque presbyterio coniuncti, et ipsi personam specialiter gerentes Christi sacerdotis,110 idem munus participant, Deum deprecantes pro toto populo sibi commisso, immo pro universo mundo. ‘ 11

All these ministers fulfill the ministry of the Good Shepherd who prays for his sheep that they may have life and so be brought into perfect unity. (cf. Jn 10:11, 17:20 and 23) In the liturgy of the hours that the Church sets before them they are not only to find a source of devotion and a strengthening of personal prayer, (cf. SC art. 90) but must also nourish and foster pastoral missionary activity as the fruit of their contemplation to gladden the whole Church of God. (cf. LG no. 41)

Hi omnes boni Pastoris ministerium adimplent, qui pro suis rogat, ut vitam habeant et ideo lint cosummati in unum.112 In Liturgia autem Horarum ab Ecclesia ipsis proposita non solum inveniant fontem pietatis et orationis personalis nutrimentum,113 sed etiam ex abundantia contemplationis actionem pastoralem ac missionalem alant foveantque in oblectamentum totius Ecclesiae Dei. ‘ 14

29. Hence bishops, priests, and other sacred ministers, who have received from the Church the mandate to celebrate the liturgy of the hours (see no. 17), should recite the full sequence of hours each day, observing as far as possible the true time of day.


29. Episcopi ergo et presbyteri, aliique ministri sacri, qui man-datum ab Ecclesia acceperunt (cf. n. 17) Liturgiam Horarum celebrandi, integrum eius cursum cotidie persolvant, Horarum veritate, quantum fieri potest, servata.

They should, first and foremost, attach due importance to those hours that are, so to speak, the two hinges of the liturgy of the hours, that is, morning prayer and evening prayer, which should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

Debitum in primis momentum tribuant Horis, quae huiusmodi Liturgiae sunt veluti cardo, id est Laudibus matutinis et Vesperis, caveantque ne has Horas omittant, nisi gravi de causa.

They should faithfully pray the office of readings, which is above all a liturgical celebration of the word of God. In this way they fulfill daily a duty that is peculiarly their own, that is, of receiving the word of God into their lives, so that they may become more perfect as disciples of the Lord and experience more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ. (cf. DV no. 25; PO no. 13)

Officium quoque lectionis, quod est potissimum celebratio liturgica verbi Dei, fideliter peragant; ita munus, peculiari ratione sibi proprium, verbum Dei [36] in seipsos recipiendi, cotidie adimplent, quo perfectiores fiant Domini discipuli et profundius sapiant investigabiles divitias Christi.’“

In order to sanctify the whole day more completely, they will also treasure the recitation of daytime prayer and night prayer, to round off the whole Opus Dei and to commend themselves to God before retiring.

Quo melius totum diem sanctificent, cordi insuper ipsis erit recitatio Horae mediae et Completorii, quo ante cubitum integrum « Opus Dei » perficiant seseque De() commandent.

30. It is most fitting that permanent deacons recite daily at least some part of the liturgy of the hours, to be determined by the conference of bishops. (cf. Paul VI, Motu Proprio Sacram Diaconatus Ordinem, 18 June 1967, no. 27)

30. Maxime decet stabiles diaconos aliquam saltem Liturgiae Horarum partem, ab Episcopali Conferentia definiendam, cotidie recitare. “a

31. a. Cathedral and collegiate chapters should celebrate in choir those parts of the liturgy of the hours that are prescribed for them by the general law or by particular law.

31. a) Capitula cathedralia et collegialia illas partes Liturgiae Horarum in choro persolvere debent, quae iis iure communi vel particulari imponuntur.

In private recitation individual members of these chapters should include those hours that are recited in their chapter, in addition to the hours prescribed for all sacred ministers. (cf. SCR, Instr. InterOec no. 78b)

Singuli vero horum Capitulorum sodales, praeter Horas, quae omnibus sacrorum administris persolvendae surit, illas Horas soli recitare debent, quae in eorum Capitulo persolvuntur.117 c

b. Religious communities bound to the recitation of the liturgy of the hours and their individual members should celebrate the hours in keeping with their own particular law; but the prescription of no. 29 in regard to those in holy orders is to be respected.

b) Communitates religiosae Liturgia Horarum adstrictae, earumque singuli sodales, Horas celebrent ad normam iuris sui particularis, salvo praescripto n. 29 circa eos, qui Ordinem sacrum acceperunt.

Communities bound to choir should celebrate the whole sequence of the hours daily in choir; (cf. SC art. 95) when absent from choir their members should recite the hours in keeping with their own particular law; but the prescriptions in no. 29 are always to be respected.

Communitates vero choro adstrictae integrum cursum Hora-rum cotidie in choro persolvant; 118 extra chorum autem soda-les Horas recitent ad normam iuris sui particularis, salvis semper praescriptis sub n. 29.d

32. Other religious communities and their individual members are advised to celebrate some parts of the liturgy of the hours, in accordance with their own situation, for it is the prayer of the Church and makes the whole Church, scattered throughout the world, one in heart and mind. (cf. Acts 4:32) This recommendation applies also to laypersons. (cf. SC art. 100)

32. Ceterae religiosae Communitates, earumque singuli sodales, monentur ut, pro adiunctis, in quibus versantur, aliquas partes celebrent Liturgiae Horarum, quae est Ecclesiae oratio, omnes ubique dispersos efficiens cor unum et animam unam.119 Eadem hortatio etiam laicis adhibetur.120

Structure of the Celebration

c) De structura celebrationis.

33. The structure of the liturgy of the hours follows laws of its own and incorporates in its own way elements found in other Christian celebrations. Thus it is so constructed that, after a hymn, there is always psalmody, then a long or short reading of sacred Scripture, and finally prayer of petition.

33. Liturgia Horarum suis legibus ordinatur, peculiari modo componens ca elementa, quae in ceteris celebrationibus christianis inveniuntur, ct ita instruitur, ut semper habeatur, praemisso hymno, psalmodia, deinde longior vel brevis lectio sacrarum Scripturarum, denique precationes.

In a celebration in common and in private recitation the essential structure of this liturgy remains the same, that is, it is a conversation between God and his people. Celebration in common, however, expresses more clearly the ecclesial nature of the liturgy of the hours; it makes for active participation by all, in a way suited to each one’s condition, through the acclamations, dialogue, alternating psalmody, and similar elements. It also better provides for the different literary genres that make up the liturgy of the hours. (cf. SC art. 26, 28-30) Hence, whenever it is possible to have a celebration in common, with the people present and actively taking part, this kind of celebration is to be preferred to one that is individual and, as it were, private. (cf. SC art. 27) It is also advantageous to sing the office in choir and in community as opportunity Offers, in accordance with the nature and function of the individual parts.

Sive in ccicbrationc communi, sive in recitatione a solo facta, essentialis structura huius Liturgiae manet, colloquium nempe inter Deum et hominem. Celebratio taxmen communis clarius manifestat naturam ecclesialem Liturgiae Horarum, favet participationi activae omnium secundum uniuscuiusque condicionem per acclamationes, dialogum, alternam psalmodiam et alias res huiusmodi, et meliorem rationem habet variorum expressions generum.12’ Proinde quoties celebratio communis cum frequentia et actuosa participatione fidelium fieri potest, ea praeferenda est celebrationi singulari et quasi privatae.’22 Praestat insuper Of&cium iuxta suam cuiusque partis naturam singularumque partiuln munus in choro et in communi pro opportunitate cantare.

In this way the Apostle’s exhortation is obeyed: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you in all its fullness, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom by psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing thankfully to God in your hearts” (Col 3:16; see Eph 5:19-20).

Sic denique monitio adimpletur Apostoli: « Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia docentes et cornmonentes vosmetipsos psalmis, hymnis et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo » (Col. 3, 16; cf. Eph. 5, 19-20).





34. The whole office begins as a rule with an invitatory. This consists in the verse, Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise, and Ps 95. This psalm invites the faithful each day to sing God’s praise and to listen to his voice and draws them to hope for “the Lord’s rest.” (See Heb 3:7-4:16)

[38] 34. Totum Officium de more introducitur Invitatorio. Hoc constat versu Domine, labia mea aperies: Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam, et psalmo 94, quo cotidie invitantur christifideles ad laudes Dei concinendas et ad vocem cius audiendam, denique alliciuntur ad « requiem Domini » exspectandam. ‘

In place of Ps 95, Ps 100, Ps 67, or Ps 24 may be used as circumstances may suggest.

Pro opportunitate tarnen, loco psalmi 94, psalmi 99 vel 66 vet 23 adhibcri possunt.

It is preferable to recite the invitatory psalm responsorially as it is set out in the text, that is, with the antiphon recited at the beginning, then repeated, and repeated again after each strophe.

Praestat psalmum invitatorium dicere prout describitur suo loco, more responsoriali, id est cum sua antiphona, quae statim proponitur ac repctitur, itcrum post unamquamquc stropham resumenda.

35. The invitatory is placed at the beginning of the whole sequence of the day’s prayer, that is, it precedes either morning prayer or the office of readings, whichever of these liturgical rites begins the day. The invitatory psalm with its antiphon may be omitted, however, when the invitatory is the prelude to morning prayer.

35. Invitatorium locum suum habet initio totius cursus orationis cotidianae, scilicet praeponitur aut Laudibus matutinis auf Officio lectionis, prout alterutra actio liturgica diem inchoat. Pro opportunitate tarnen, psalmus cum sua antiphona omitti poterit, quando Laudibus praeponendus est.

36. The variation of the invitatory antiphon, to suit the different liturgical days, is indicated at its place of occurrence.

36. Ratio variandi antiphonam ad invitatorium, iuxta diversitatem dierum liturgicorum, suo cuiusque loco indicatur.

Chapter II-II. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer


37. “By the venerable tradition of the universal Church, lauds as morning prayer and vespers as evening prayer are the two hinges on which the daily office turns; hence they are to be considered as the chief hours and celebrated as such.” (SC art. 89a; cf, also art. 100)

37. « Laudes, ut preces matutinae, et Vesperae, ut preces vespertinae, e venerabili universae Ecclesiae [39] traditione duplex cardo Officii cotidiani, Horae praecipuae habendae sunt et ita celebrandae » 2

38. As is clear from many of the elements that make it up, morning prayer is intended and arranged to sanctify the morning. St. Basil the Great gives an excellent description of this character in these words: “It is said in the morning in order that the first stirrings of our mind and will may be consecrated to God and that we may take nothing in hand until we have been gladdened by the thought of God, as it is written: ‘I was mindful of God and was glad’ (Ps 77:4 [Jerome’s translation from Hebrew]), or set our bodies to any task before we do what has been said: ‘I will pray to you, Lord, you will hear my voice in the morning; I will stand before you in the morning and gaze on you’ (Ps 5:4-5).” (Basil the Great, Regulae fusius tractatae resp. 37, 3: PG 31, 1014)

38. Laudes matutinae ad sanctificandum tempus matutinum destinantur et ordinantur, sicut ex multis earunl patet elementis. Quae indoles matutinalis optime exprimitur his sancti Basilii Magni verbis: « Matutinum quidem ut animi ac mentis nostrae primi motus Deo consecrentur, et nihil aliud prius curandum suscipiamus, quam exhilarati fuerimus Dei cogitatione, sicut scriptum est: “Memor fui Dei et delectatus sum” (Ps. 76, 4), neque corpus ante admoveatur operi, quam effecerimus quod dictum est: “Ad te orabo, Domine, mane exaudies vocem meam, mane astabo tibi et videbo” (Ps. 5,4-5)

Celebrated as it is as the light of a new day is dawning, this hour also recalls the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the true light enlightening all people (see Jn 1:9) and “the sun of justice” (Mal 4:2), “rising from on high” (Lk 1:78). Hence, we can well understand the advice of St. Cyprian: “There should be prayer in the morning so that the resurrection of the Lord may thus be celebrated.” (Cyprian, De oratione dominica 35: PL 4, 561)

Haec Hora praetera, quae nova diei luce recurrente persolvitur, resurrectionem revocat Domini Iesu, qui est lux vera, illuminans omnes homines (cf. Io. 1, 9) et « sol iustitiae » (Mal. 4, 2), « oriens ex alto » (Lc. 1,78). Quapropter bene intellegitur sancti Cypriani monitum: « Mane orandum est, ut resurrectio Domini matutina oratione celebretur »‘

39. When evening approaches and the day is already far spent, evening prayer is celebrated in order that “we may give thanks for what has been given us, or what we have done well, during the day.” (Basil the Great, Regulae fusius tractatae resp. 37, 3: PG 31, 1015) We also recall the redemption through the prayer we send up “like incense in the Lord’s sight,” and in which “the raising up of our hands” becomes “an evening sacrifice.” (cf. Ps 141:2) This sacrifice “may also be interpreted more spiritually as the true evening sacrifice that our Savior the Lord entrusted to the apostles at supper on the evening when he instituted the sacred mysteries of the Church or of the evening sacrifice of the next day, the sacrifice, that is, which, raising his hands, he offered to the Father at the end of the ages for the salvation of the whole world.” (John Cassian, De institutione coenob. 3, 3: PL 49, 124, 125) Again, in order to fix our hope on the light that knows no setting, “we pray and make petition for the light to come down on us anew; we implore the coming of Christ who will bring the grace of eternal light.” (Cyprian, De oratione dominica 35: PL 4, 560) Finally, at this hour we join with the Churches of the East in calling upon the “joy-giving light of that holy glory, born of the immortal, heavenly Father, the holy and blessed Jesus Christ; now that we have come to the setting of the sun and have seen the evening star, we sing in praise of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. . . .”

39. Vesperae celebrantur, cum advesperascit et inclinata est iam dies, ut « de iis quae in ipsa data sunt nobis, aut recte a nobis gesta sunt, persolvantur gratiae ». ° Redemptionem etiam recolimus per orationem, quam « sicut incensum in conspectu Domini » dirigimus et in qua « elevatio manuum nostrarum » fit « sacrificium vespertinum D.” Hoc autem « de illo quoque vero sacrificio vespertino sacratius intellegi potest, quod vel vespere a Domi[40]no Salvatore, cenantibus Apostolis, traditur, cum initiaret Ecclesiae sacrosancta mysteria, vel quod ipse die postero sacrificium vespertinum, in fine scilicet saeculorum, elevatione manuum suarum pro salute totius mundi oblatus est Patti ».’ Ut dcnique ad lucem, quac nescit occasum, spem convertamus, « oramus et petimus ut super nos lux dcnuo veniat, Christi precamur adven turn, lucis aeternae gratiam praebiturum D.” Demum in hac hora, cum Ecclesiis orientalibus consonamus invocantes: « Lumen hilarum sanctae gloriae acterni Patris cacicstis, beatum Iesum Christum; ad occasum solis perducti, videntes lumen vespertinum, canimus Patrem ct Filium et Spiritum Sanctum Deum ... ».

40. Morning prayer and evening prayer are therefore to be accorded the highest importance as the prayer of the Christian community. Their public or communal celebration should be encouraged, especially in the case of those who live in community. Indeed, the recitation of these hours should be recommended also to individual members of the faithful unable to take part in a celebration in common.

40. Maximi ergo faciendae sunt Laudes matutinae et Vesperae, ut oratio communitatis christianae: earumque cclebratio publica vel communis fovcatur praesertim apud eos qui communem vitam agunt. Immo earum recitatio commendetur etiam singulis fidelibus, qui celebrationem communem participare nequeunt.

41. Morning prayer and evening prayer begin with the introductory verse, God come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me. There follows the Glory to the Father, with As it was in the beginning and Alleluia (omitted in Lent). This introduction is omitted at morning prayer when the invitatory immediately precedes it.

41. Laudes matutinae et Vesperae inchoantur a versu introductorio Deus, in adiutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adiuvandum me f estiva, quem sequitur Gloria Patri cum Sicut erat et Alleluia (quod omittitur tempore Quadragesimae). Quae tarnen omnia supprimuntur ad Laudes, quando Invitatorium im-mediate praecedit.

42. Then an appropriate hymn is sung immediately. The purpose of the hymn is to set the tone for the hour or the feast and, especially in celebrations with a congregation, to form a simple and pleasant introduction to prayer.

42. Deinde statim dicitur hymnus congruus. Hymnus ita instruitur, ut det suum cuique Horae vel festo velut colorem et, praecipue in celebratione cum populo, initium facilius et iucundius orationi praebeat.

43. After the hymn the psalmody follows, in accordance with the rules laid down in nos. 121-125. The psalmody of morning prayer consists of one morning psalm, then a canticle from the Old Testament and, finally, a second psalm of praise, following the tradition of the Church.

43. Post hymnum vero fit psalmodia, ad normam nn. 121-125. Psalmodia Laudum constat uno psalmo matutino, deinde cantico ex Vetere Testamento deprompto, et altero psalmo laudativo, secundum Ecclesiae traditionem.

The psalmody of evening prayer consists of two psalms (or two parts of a longer psalm) suited to the hour and to celebration with a congregation and a canticle from the letters of the apostles or from the Book of Revelation.

Psalmodia Vesperarum constat duobus psalmis, vel duobus partibus psalmi longioris, aptis huit Horae et celebrationi populari, et uno cantico ex Apostolorum Epistolis vel Apocalypsi sumpto.

44. After the psalmody there is either a short reading or a longer one.

1 44. Absoluta psalmodia, habetur lectio, sive brevis, sive longior.

45. The short reading is provided to fit the day, the season, and the feast. It is to be read and received as a true proclamation of God’s word that emphasizes some holy thought or highlights some shorter passages that may be overlooked in the continuous cycle of Scripture readings.

45. Lectio brevis ponitur pro qualitate diei vel temporis vel festi; legenda est et audienda, ut vera proclamatio verbi Dei quae vehementer aliquam sententiam sacram proponat, quaeque iuvet ad illustranda quaedam breviora dicta, quae in lectione continua Scripturarum minus forte attendantur.

The short readings are different for each day of the psalter cycle.

Lectiones breves variantur per singulos dies cursus psalmodici.

46. Especially in a celebration with a congregation, a longer Scripture reading may be chosen either from the office of readings or the Lectionary for Mass, particularly texts that for some reason have not been used. From time to time some other more suitable reading may be used, in accordance with the rules in nos. 248-249 and 251.

146. Ad libitum vero, et praecipue in celebratione cum populo, longior lectio biblica eligi potest sive ex Officio lectionis, sive ex its quae in Missa leguntur, praecipue ex textibus qui proferri, varia de causa, non potuerunt. Nihil praeterea impedit, quominus interdum etiam alia lectio aptior cligatur, ad normam nn. 248-249, 251.

47. In a celebration with a congregation a short homily may follow the reading to explain its meaning, as circumstances suggest.

47. In celebratione cum populo, pro opportunitatc, addi potest brevis homilia ad praedictam lectionem illustrandam.

48. After the reading or homily a period of silence may be observed.

48. Post lectionem vel homiliam, pro opportunitatc, spatium aliquod silentii servari potest.

49. As a response to the word of God, a responsorial. chant or short responsory is provided; this may be omitted. Other chants with the same purpose and character may also be substituted in its place, provided these have been duly approved by the conference of bishops.

49. Ad respondendum verbo Dei, praebetur cantus responsorialis seu responsorium breve, quod pro opportunitate omitti potest. Alii cantus tarnen eiusdem muneris et generis possunt in eius locum substitui, dummodo lint rite a Conferentia Episcopali ad hoc approbati.

50. Next is the solemn recitation of the gospel canticle with its antiphon, that is, the Canticle of Zechariah at morning prayer and the Canticle of Mary at evening prayer. Sanctioned by age-old popular usage in the Roman Church, these canticles are expressions of praise and thanksgiving for our redemption. The antiphon for each canticle is indicated, according to the character of the day, the season, or the feast.

50. Deinde sollemniter cum sua antiphona dicitur canticum evangelicum, scilicet ad Laudes matutinas canticum Zachariae Benedictus, ad Vesperas canticum B. Mariae V. Magnificat. Quae cantica, usu saeculari et populari Ecclesiae Romanae confirmata, laudem redemptionis et gratiarum actionem exprimunt. Antiphona ad Benedictus et Magnificat indicatur pro qualitate dei, temporis vel festi.

51. After the canticle, at morning prayer come the petitions for the consecration of the day and its work to God and at evening prayer, the intercessions (see nos. 179-193).

51. Absoluto cantico, in Laudibus matutinis fiunt preces ad diem opusque Domino consecrandum, in Vesperis vero intercessiones (cf. nn. 179-193).

52. After the petitions or intercessions the Lord’s Prayer is said by all.

52. Post praedictas preces vel intercessiones, Pater nos ter ab omnibus dicitur.

53. Immediately after the Lord’s Prayer there follows the concluding prayer, which for weekdays in Ordinary Time is found in the psalter and for other days in the proper.

53. Dicto Pater noster, dicitur immediate oratio conclusiva, quae pro feriis ordinariis invenitur in Psalterio, pro aliis diebus in Proprio.

54. Then, if a priest or deacon is presiding, he dismisses the congregation with the greeting, The Lord be with you, and the blessing as at Mass. He adds the invitation, Go in peace. R. Thanks be to God. In the absence of a priest or deacon the celebration concludes with May the Lord bless us, etc.

54. Deinde, si praeest sacerdos vel diaconus, ipse populum dimittit per salutationem Dominus vobiscum et benedictionem ut in Missa, quam sequitur invitatio 1 te in pace. sJ. Deo gratins. Secus celebratio concluditur per Dominus nos benedicat, etc.

Chapter II-III. Office of Readings


55. The office of readings seeks to provide God’s people, and in particular those consecrated to God in a special way, with a wider selection of passages from sacred Scripture for meditation, together with the finest excerpts from spiritual writers. Even though the cycle of scriptural readings at daily Mass is now richer, the treasures of revelation and tradition to be found in the office of readings will also contribute greatly to the spiritual life. Bishops and priests in particular should prize these treasures, so that they may hand on to others the word of God they have themselves received and make their teaching “the true nourishment for the people of God.” (RP, Ordination of Priests no. 14)

55. Officium lectionis eo spectat, ut uberior meditatio sacrae Scripturae auctorumque spiritualium optimae paginae proponantur populo Dei, praecipue autem iis qui modo peculiari sunt Domino consecrati. Etsi enim ditior sacrae Scripturae brevia, an potius cantus populares », responsio huiusmodi invenitur in N 10 (1974) 323: cursus in Missa cotidiana legitur, thesaurus ille revelationis [43] et traditionis, qui in Officio lectionis continetur, in magnum spiritus profectum cedet. Has divitias imprimis quaerant sacerdotes, ut verbum Dei, quod ipsi acceperint, omnibus dispensare valeant suamque doctrinam facere « pabulum populo Dei

56. But prayer should accompany “the reading of sacred Scripture so that there may be a conversation between God and his people: ‘we talk with God when we pray, we listen to him when we read God’s words.” (Ambrose, De officiis ministrorum 1, 20, 88: PL 16, 50. cf. also DV no. 25) For this reason the office of readings consists also of psalms, a hymn, a prayer, and other texts, giving it the character of true prayer.

56. Cum vero oratio comitari debeat « sacrae Scripturae lectionem, ut fiat colloquium inter Deum et hominem, nam "illum alloquimur cum oramus, ilium audimus cum divina legimus oracula" », 10 ideo Officium lectionis constat etiam psalmis, hymno, oratione aliisque formulis, ut indolem prae se ferat verae orationis.

57. The Constitution on the Liturgy directs that the office of readings, “though it should retain its character as a night office of praise when celebrated in choir, shall be adapted so that it may be recited at any hour of the day; it shall be made up of fewer psalms and longer readings.” (SC art. 89c)

57. Officium lectionis, ex Constitutione Sacrosanctum Concilium, « quamvis in choro indolem nocturnae laudis retineat, ita accommodetur ut qualibet diei hora recitari possit et e psalmis paucioribus lectionibusque longioribus constet

58. Those who are obliged by their own particular law and others who commendably wish to retain the character of this office as a night office of praise (either by saying it at night or very early in the morning and before morning prayer), during Ordinary Time choose the hymn from the selection given for this purpose. Moreover, for Sundays, solemnities, and certain feasts what is said in nos. 70-73 about vigils must be kept in mind.

58. Ii ergo qui iure suo peculiari debent, et ii qui laudabiliter volunt huic Officio indolem nocturnae laudis servare, sive id dicunt noctu sive summo mane et ante Laudes matutinas, hymnum tempore per annum seligunt ex ca serie, quae huic fini destinatur, Praeterea, pro diebus dominicis, sollemnitatibus et quibusdam festis, animadvertenda sunt quae nn. 70-73 de vigiliis dicuntur.

59. Without prejudice to the regulations just given, the office of readings may be recited at any hour of the day, even during the night hours of the previous day, after evening prayer has been said.

Firma praedicta dispositione, Officium lectionis qualibet diei hora recitari potest, etiam horis nocturnis diei praecedentis, post peractas Vesperas.

60. If the office of readings is said before morning prayer, the invitatory precedes it, as noted (nos. 34-36). Otherwise it begins with the verse, God, come to my assistance with the Glory to the Father, As it was in the beginning, and the Alleluia (omitted in Lent).

] 60. Si Officium lectionis ante Laudes matutinas dicitur, tunc ei praemittitur invitatorium, ut supra (nn. 34-36) dictum est. Secus, incipit a versu Deus, in adiutorium cum Gloria, Sicut erat, et, extra tempus Quadragesimae, Alleluia.

61. Then the hymn is sung. In Ordinary Time this is taken either from the night selections, as already indicated (nos. 34-36), or from the morning selections, depending on what the true time of day requires.

61. Deinde dicitur hymnus qui, per annum, eligitur aut ex serie nocturna, ut supra n. 58 indicatur, aut ex serie diurna, prout veritas temporis postulat.

62. The psalmody follows and consists of three psalms (or parts in the case of longer psalms). During the Easter triduum, on days within the octaves of Easter and Christmas, on solemnities and feasts, the psalms are proper, with their proper antiphons.

62. Sequitur psalmodia constans tribus psalmis (vel partibus, si psalmi occurrentes sint longiores). In triduo paschali, diebus infra octavas Paschae et Nativitatis, necnon in sollemnitatibus et festis, psalmi sunt proprii, cum suis propriis antiphonis.

On Sundays and weekdays, however, the psalms and their antiphons are taken from the current week and day of the psalter. On memorials of the saints they are similarly taken from the current week and day of the psalter, unless there are proper psalms or antiphons (see nos. 218ff.).

In dominicis vero et in feriis, psalmi cum suis antiphonis sumuntur e Psalterio currente. Item e Psalterio currente sumuntur in memoriis Sanctorum, nisi forte adsint psalmi vel antiphonae propriae (cf. nn. 218 ss.).

63. Between the psalmody and the readings there is, as a rule, a verse, marking a transition in the prayer from psalmody to listening.

2316 63. Inter psalmodiam et lectiones dicitur de more versus, quo oratio transeat a psalmodia ad lectiones audiendas.

64. There are two readings: the first is from the Scriptures, the second is from the writings of the Fathers or church writers, or else is a reading connected with the saints.

64. Duplex lectio adhibetur, quarum prior est biblica, altera vel ex operibus Patrum aut Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum deprompta, vel hagiographica.

65. After each reading there is a responsory (see nos. 169-172).

65. Post vero unamquamque lectionem dicitur responsorium (cf. nn. 169-172).

66. The scriptural reading is normally to be taken from the Proper of Seasons, in accordance with the rules to be given later (nos. 140-155). On solemnities and feasts, however, it is taken from the proper or the common.

66. Ea lectio biblica de more usurpanda est, quae occurrit in Proprio de Tempore, secundum normas infra, nn. 140-155, tradendas. In sollemnitatibus tarnen et festis, lectio biblica sumitur e Proprio vel e Communi.

67. On solemnities and feasts of saints a proper second reading is used; if there is none, the second reading is taken from the respective Common of Saints. On memorials of saints when the celebration is not impeded, the reading in connection with the saint replaces the current second reading (see nos. 166 and 235).

67. In sollemnitatibus vero et festis Sanctorum, adhibetur lectio propria hagiographica, qua deficiente legitur lectio altera e respectivo Communi Sanctorum. In memoriis Sanctorum, qua-rum celebratio non impeditur, lectio hagiographica sumitur item loco lectionis alterius occurrentis (cf. nn. 166, 235).

68. On Sundays outside Lent, on days within the octaves of Easter and Christmas, and on solemnities and feasts the Te Deum is said after the second reading with its responsory but is omitted on memorials and weekdays. The last part of this hymn, that is, from the verse, Save your people, Lord to the end, may be omitted.

68. In dominicis extra Quadragesimam, diebus infra octavas 2321 Paschae et Nativitatis, in sollemnitatibus et festis, post lectionem alteram cum suo responsorio, dicitur hymnus Te Deum, qui vero omittitur in memoriis et in feriis. Ultima pars hymni, scilicet a versiculo Salvum f ac populum tuum usque ad finem, ad libitum potest omitti.

69. The office of readings normally concludes with the prayer proper to the day and, at least in recitation in common, with the acclamation, Let us praise the Lord. R. And give him thanks.

69. Officium lectionis concluditur de more oratione diei pro- 2322 pria et, saltem in recitatione communi, acclamatione Benedicamus Domino. N. Deo gratias.

Chapter II-IV. Vigils


70. The Easter Vigil is celebrated by the whole Church, in the rites given in the relevant liturgical books. “The vigil of this night,” as St. Augustine said, “is of such importance that it could claim exclusively for itself the name ‘vigil,’ common though this is to all the others.” (Augustine, Sermo Guelferbytanus 5: PL Suppl 2, 550) “We keep vigil on that night when the Lord rose again and inaugurated for us in his humanity that life ... in which there is neither death nor sleep.... Hence, the one whose resurrection we celebrate by keeping watch a little longer will see to it that we reign with him by living a life without end.” (Ibid.: PL Suppl 2, 552)

70. Vigilia paschalis a tota Ecclesia celebratur sicut in respec- 2323 tivis libris liturgicis describitur. « Huius noctis vigilia tanta est », ait sanctus Augustinus, « ut sola sibi etiam ceterarum commune nomen velut proprium vindicaret »; 12 « illam noctem agimus vigilando, qua Dominus resurrexit, et illam vitam... ubi nec mors ulla nec somnus est, in sua carne nobis inchoavit ...; proinde, cui resurgenti paulo diutius vigilando concinimus, praestabit ut cum illo sine fine vivendo regnemus D.”

71. As with the Easter Vigil, it was customary to begin certain solemnities (different in different Churches) with a vigil. Among these solemnities Christmas and Pentecost are preeminent. This custom should be maintained and fostered, according to the particular usage of each Church. Whenever it seems good to add a vigil for other solemnities or pilgrimages, the general norms for celebrations of the word should be followed.

71. Sicut in Vigilia paschali, mos fuit diversas diversis in ec- 2324 clesiis sollemnitates vigilia inchoare: inter quas eminent Nativitas Domini et dies Pentecostes. Mos quidem ille servandus et fovendus est se[46]cundum usum proprium uniuscuiusque Ecclesiae. Sicubi alias forte sollemnitates vel peregrinationes vigilia ornari conveniat, observentur generales normae pro celebrationibus verbi divini propositae.

72. The Fathers and spiritual writers have frequently encouraged Christians, especially those who lead the contemplative life, to pray during the night. Such prayer expresses and awakens our expectation of the Lord’s Second Coming: “At midnight the cry went up: ‘See, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him... (Mt 25:6). “Keep watch, then, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether late or at midnight or at cockcrow or in the morning, so that if he comes unexpectedly he may not find you sleeping” (Mk 13:35-36). All who maintain the character of the office of readings as a night office, therefore, are to be commended.

72. Patres vero atque spirituales auctores saepissime fideles, eos praecipue qui vitam contemplativam agunt, adhortati sunt ad orationem nocturnam, qua exprimitur et excitatur exspectatio Domini, qui redibit: « Media nocte clamor factus est: ecce sponsus venit, exite obviam ei » (Mt. 25, 6); « Vigilate ergo, nescitis enim quando dominus domus veniat: sero, an media nocte, an galli cantu, an mane, ne cum venerit repente, inveniat vos dormientes » (Mc. 13, 35-36). Laude ergo digni sunt omnes, qui Officio lectionis indolem nocturnam servant.

73. Further, since in the Roman Rite the office of readings is always of a uniform brevity, especially for the sake of those engaged in apostolic work, those who desire, in accordance with tradition, to extend the celebration of the vigils of Sundays, solemnities, and feasts should do so as follows.

73. Praeterea, cum in Ritu Romano, respectu habito praesertim eorum, qui in opus apostolicum incombunt, Officium lectionis eiusdem semper brevitatis sit, ii qui celebrationem vigiliae dominicalis, sollemnitatum et festorum protrahere, iuxta traditionem, cupiant, sequenti modo procedant.

First, the office of readings is to be celebrated as in The Liturgy of the Hours up to the end of the readings. After the two readings and before the Te Deum canticles should be added from the special appendix of The Liturgy of the Hours. Then the gospel should be read; a homily on the gospel may be added. After this the Te Deum is sung and the prayer said.

Primo Officium lectionis celebretur sicut est in libro Liturgiae Horarum usque ad lectiones inclusive. Post vero ambas lectiones et ante Te Deum addantur cantica, quae ad hoc in Appendice eiusdem libri indicantur; deinde legatur Evangelium, de quo pro opportunitate fieri potent homilia, postea canitur hymnus Te Deum et dicitur oratio.

On solemnities and feasts the gospel is to be taken from the Lectionary for Mass; on Sundays, from the series on the paschal mystery in the appendix of The Liturgy of the Hours.

Evangelium vero in sollemnitatibus et festis sumatur e Lectionario Missae, in dominicis autem e serie de mysterio paschali, quae in Appendice libri Liturgiae Horarum describitur.

Chapter II-V. Daytime Hours


74. Following a very ancient tradition Christians have made a practice of praying out of private devotion at various times of the day, even in the course of their work, in imitation of the Church in apostolic times. In different ways with the passage of time this tradition has taken the form of a liturgical celebration.

74. Ex perantiqua traditione soliti sunt christiani privata devotione diversis per diem tcmporibtts orare, medio etiam labore, ad imitandam Ecclesiam [47] apostolicam; quae traditio, modis diversis et decursu temporis, liturgicis cclebrationibus instructa est.

75. Liturgical custom in both East and West has retained midmorning, midday, and midafternoon prayer, mainly because these hours were linked to a commemoration of the events of the Lord’s passion and of the first preaching of the Gospel.

75. Mos liturgicus, tam Orientis quam Occidentis, rctinuit Tertiam, Sextam et Nonam, praecipue quia iis horis adnectebatur memoria eventuum Passionis Domini et primae propagationis evangelicae.

76. Vatican Council II decreed that these lesser hours are to be retained in choir. (cf. SC art. 89)

76. Statuit autem Concilium Vaticanum II, ut Horae minores Tertia, Sexta et Nona in choro servarentur.’° f

The liturgical practice of saying these three hours is to be retained, without prejudice to particular law, by those who live the contemplative life. It is recommended also for all, especially those who take part in retreats or pastoral meetings.

Mos liturgicus dicendi has tres Horas rctincatur, salvo iure particulars, ab its qui vitam contemplativam agunt; suadetur etiam omnibus, iis praesertim qui recessum spiritualem vel conventum de re pastorali participant.

77. Outside choir, without prejudice to particular law, it is permitted to choose from the three hours the one most appropriate to the time of day, so that the tradition of prayer in the course of the day’s work may be maintained.

77. Extra chorum tarnen, salvo iure particulari, ex tribus Horis unam seligere licet diei tempori magis congruentem, ita ut servetur traditio orandi per diem in medio opere. g

78. Daytime prayer is so arranged as to take into account both those who recite only one hour and those who are obliged, or desire, to say all three hours.

78. Ita ergo componitur ordo dicendi Tertiam, Sextam et Nonam, ut ratio habeatur simul et eorum qui unam tantum Horam seu « Horam mediam » dicant, et eorum qui tres omnes Horas persolvere debeant aut velint.

79. The daytime hours begin with the introductory verse, God come to my assistance with the Glory to the Father, As it was in the beginning, and the Alleluia (omitted in Lent). Then a hymn appropriate to the hour is sung. The psalmody is next, then the reading, followed by the verse. The hour concludes with the prayer and, at least in recitation in common, with the acclamation, Let us praise the Lord. R. And give him thanks.

79. Tertiae, Sextae et Nonae vel Horae mediae initium fit versu introductio Deus, in adiutorium, cum Gloria, Sicut erat, et Alleluia (quod omittitur tempore Quadragesimae). Deinde dicitur hymnus, Horae congruens. Postea fit psalmodia, deinde lectio brevis, quam sequitur versus. Hora concluditur oratione et, saltem in recitatione communi, acclamatione Benedicamus Domino. it. Deo gratias.

80. Different hymns and prayers are given for each of the hours so that, in keeping with tradition, they may correspond to the true time of day and thus sanctify it in a more pointed way. Those who recite only one hour should therefore choose the texts that correspond to the true time of day.

80. Hymni et orationes pro singulis Horis ita proponuntur diversa, ut veritati temporis, iuxta acceptam traditionem, conveniant, atque aptius horarum sanctificatio procuretur; ideoque qui unam tantum Horam dicit, ea seligere debet elementa, quae ipsi Horae respondent.

In addition, the readings and prayers vary in keeping with the character of the day, the season, or the feast.

Praeterea, lectiones breves et orationes variantur pro qualitate diei, temporis vel festi.

81. Two psalmodies are provided: the current psalmody and the complementary psalmody. Those who pray one hour should use the current psalmody. Those who pray more than one hour should use the current psalmody at one hour and the complementary psalmody at the others.

81. Duplex psalmodia proponitur: altera currens, altera complementaris. Qui unam tantum Horam dicit, psalmodiam currentem sumat. Qui vero plures Horas dicit, in una Hora psalmodiam currentem sumat, in ceteris complementarem.

82. The current psalmody consists of three psalms (or parts in the case of longer psalms) from the psalter, with their antiphons, unless directions are given to the contrary.

82. Psalmodia currens constat tribus psalmis (vel partibus si agitur de psalmis longioribus) e textu Psalterii, qui adhibentur cum suis antiphonis, nisi aliter suo loco indicatur.

On solemnities, the Easter triduum, and days within the octave of Easter, proper antiphons are said with three psalms chosen from the complementary psalmody, unless special psalms are to be used or the celebration falls on a Sunday, when the psalms are those from the Sunday of Week I of the psalter.

In sollemnitatibus, triduo paschali et diebus infra octavam Paschae, antiphonae propriae dicuntur cum tribus psalmis e psalmodia complementari seligendis, nisi adhibendi sint psalmi speciales, vel celebratio sollemnitatis occurrat die dominica, quo in casu sumuntur psalmi de dominica hebdomadae I.

83. The complementary psalter consists of three sets of three psalms, chosen as a rule from the Gradual Psalms.

83. Psalmodia complementaris constat ternis psalmis, ex its de more selectis qui « graduales » nuncupantur.

Chapter II-VI. Night Prayer


84. Night prayer is the last prayer of the day, said before retiring, even if that is after midnight.

84. Completorium est ultima diei oratio, ante nocturnam quie• tern facienda, etiam post mediam noctem si casus ferat.

85. Night prayer begins like the other hours, with the verse, God, come to my assistance, the Glory to the Father, As it was in the beginning, and the Alleluia (omitted in Lent).

85. Completorium inchoatur, sicut aliae Horae, a versu Deus in adiutorium, cum Gloria, Sicut erat et Alleluia (quod omittitur tempore Quadragesimae).

86. It is a laudable practice to have next an examination of conscience; in a celebration in common this takes place in silence or as part of a penitential rite based on the formularies in the Roman Missal.

 86. Deinde laudabiliter peragitur conscientiae discussio, quae in celebratione communi vel fit silentio, vel inseritur in actum paenitentialem secundum formulas Missalis Romani.

87. The appropriate hymn follows.

87. Deinde dicitur hymnus congruus.

88. After evening prayer I of Sunday the psalmody consists of Ps 4 and Ps 134; after evening prayer II of Sunday it consists of Ps 91.

88. Psalmodia constat, die dominica, post I Vesperas, psalmis 4 et 133; post II Vesperas, psalmo 90.

On the other days psalms are chosen that are full of confidence in the Lord; it is permissible to use the Sunday psalms instead, especially for the convenience of those who may wish to pray night prayer from memory.

Ceteris diebus tales psalmi selecti sunt, qui fiduciam in Domino praecipue excitent; conceditur tarnen, ut pro its substituantur psalmi dominicae in commodum praecipue eorum, qui forte memoriter Completorium recitare velint.

89. After the psalmody there is a reading, followed by the responsory, Into your hands. Then, as a climax to the whole hour, the Canticle of Simeon, Lord, now you let your servant go in peace follows, with its antiphon.

89. Post psalmodiam, fit lectio brevis, quam sequitur responsorium ln manus tuas; deinde dicitur cum sua antiphona canticum evangelicum Nunc dimittis, quod est quasi culmen totius Horae.

90. The concluding prayer then follows, as it appears in the psalter.

90. Oratio conclusiva dicitur, sicut in Psalterio.

91. After the prayer the blessing, May the all-powerful Lord is used, even in private recitation.

91. Post orationem dicitur, etiam a solo, benedictio Noctem quietam.

92. Finally, one of the antiphons in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said. In the Easter season this is always to be the Regina caeli. In addition to the antiphons given in The Liturgy of the Hours, others may be approved by the conferences of bishops. (cf. SC art. 38)

92. Demum dicitur una ex antiphonis de B. Maria Virgine. Tempore vero paschali, erit semper antiphona Regina cadi, Praeter antiphonas, quae in libro Liturgiae Horarum exstant, aliae possunt approbari a Conferentiis Episcopalibus.’6

Chapter II-VII. Combining the Hours With Mass or With Each Other


93. In particular cases, if circumstances require, it is possible to link an hour more closely with Mass when there is a celebration of the liturgy of the hours in public or in common, according to the norms that follow, provided the Mass and the hour belong to one and the same office. Care must be taken, however, that this does not result in harm to pastoral work, especially on Sundays.

93. In casibus particularibus, si adiuncta id requirant, fieri potest in celebratione publica vel communi arctior coniunctio inter Missam et Horam Officii, iuxta normas quae sequuntur, dummodo Mis[50]sa et Hora de uno eodemque Officio sint. Cavendum tarnen est, ne hoc in detrimenturn operis pastoralis vertat, praesertim die dominica.

94. When morning prayer, celebrated in choir or in common, comes immediately before Mass, the whole celebration may begin either with the introductory verse and hymn of morning prayer, especially on weekdays, or with the entrance song, procession, and celebrant’s greeting, especially on Sundays and holydays; one of the introductory rites is thus omitted.

94. Cum Laudes matutinae in choro vel in communi celebratae Missam immediate praecedunt, actio incipere potest aut a versu introductorio et hymno Laudum, praesertim diebus ferialibus, aut a cantu Introitus cum processione ingressus et salutatione celebrantis, diebus praesertirn festivis, in casu alterutro omisso ritu initiali.

The psalmody of morning prayer follows as usual, up to, but excluding, the reading. After the psalmody the penitential rite is omitted and, as circumstances suggest, the Kyrie; the Gloria then follows, if required by the rubrics, and the celebrant says the opening prayer of the Mass. The liturgy of the word follows as usual.

Deinde prosequitur psalmodia Laudum more solito usque ad lectionem brevem exclusive. Post psalmodiam, omisso actu paenitentiali et, pro opportunitate, Kyrie, dicitur iuxta rubricas Gloria in excelsis et celebrans profert orationem Missae. Deinde sequitur liturgia verbi more solito.

The general intercessions are made in the place and form customary at Mass. But on weekdays, at Mass in the morning, the intercessions of morning prayer may replace the daily form of the general intercessions at Mass.

Oratio universalis fit loco et forma, in Missa consuetis. Diebus tarnen ferialibus, in Missa matutinali, loco formularii cotidiani orationis universalis, dici possunt preces matutinales de Lau ibus.

After the communion with its communion song the Canticle of Zechariah, Blessed be the Lord, with its antiphon from morning prayer, is sung. Then follow the prayer after communion and the rest as usual.

Post communionem cum suo proprio cantu, canitur Benedictus cum sua antiphona de Laudibus; deinde dicuntur oratio post communionem et cetera more solito.

95. If public celebration of a daytime hour, whichever corresponds to the time of day, is immediately followed by Mass, the whole celebration may begin in the same way, either with the introductory verse and hymn for the hour, especially on weekdays, or with the entrance song, procession, and celebrant’s greeting, especially on Sundays and holydays; one of the introductory rites is thus omitted.

95. Si Hora media, scilicet Tertia, Sexta vel Nona, prout veritas Horarum requirit, publice celebrata, Missam immediate praecedit, actio incipere pariter potest aut a versu introductorio et hymno Horae, praesertim diebus ferialibus, aut a cantu Introitus cum processione ingressus et salutatione celebrantis, diebus praesertim festivis, omisso in casu alterutro ritu initiali.

The psalmody of the hour follows as usual up to, but excluding, the reading. After the psalmody the penitential rite is omitted and, as circumstances suggest, the Kyrie; the Gloria then follows, if required by the rubrics, and the celebrant says the opening prayer of the Mass.

Deinde prosequitur psalmodia Horae more solito usque ad lectionem brevem exclusive. Post psalmodiam, omisso actu paenitentiali et, pro opportunitate, Kyrie, dicitur iuxta rubricas Gloria in excelsis et celebrans profert orationem Missae.

96. Evening prayer, celebrated immediately before Mass, is joined to it in the same way as morning prayer. Evening prayer I of solemnities, Sundays, or feasts of the Lord falling on Sundays may not be celebrated until after Mass of the preceding day or Saturday.

[51] 96. Vesperae eodem modo, quo matutinae Laudes uniuntur cum Missa, quam immediate praecedunt. Primae tarnen Vesperae sollemnitatum vel dominicarum vel festorum Domini, die dominica occurrentium, non possunt celebrari nisi iam peracta Missa diei praecedentis aut sabbati.

97. When a daytime hour or evening prayer follows Mass, the Mass is celebrated in the usual way up to and including the prayer after communion.

97. Cum autem Hora media, scilicet Tertia, Sexta vel Nona, aut Vesperae Missam sequuntur, tune Missa celebratur more solito usque ad orationem post communionem inclusive.

When the prayer after communion has been said, the psalmody of the hour begins without introduction. At the daytime hour, after the psalmody the short reading is omitted and the prayer is said at once and the dismissal takes place as at Mass. At evening prayer, after the psalmody the short reading is omitted and the Canticle of Mary with its antiphon follows at once; the intercessions and the Lord’s Prayer are omitted; the concluding prayer follows, then the blessing of the congregation.

Dicta oratione post communionem, absolute incipit psalmodia illius Horae. In Hora media, peracta psalmodia, statim, omissa lectione brevi, dicitur oratio et fit dimissio, ut in Missa. Ad Vesperas, peracta psalmodia et omissa lectione, additur statim canticum Magnificat cum sua antiphona et, omissis precibus atque oratione dominica, dicitur oratio conclusiva ac benedicitur populo.

98. Apart from Christmas eve, the combining of Mass with the office of readings is normally excluded, since the Mass already has its own cycle of readings, to be kept distinct from any other. But if by way of exception, it should be necessary to join the two, then immediately after the second reading from the office, with its responsory, the rest is omitted and the Mass begins with the Gloria, if it is called for; otherwise the Mass begins with the opening prayer.

98. Excepto casu noctis Nativitatis Domini, excluditur ex more coniunctio Missae cum Officio lectionis, cum Missa ipsa suum iam habeat cursum lectionum, ab altero distinguendum. Si quando tarnen id per modum actus fieri oporteat, tune statim post secundam lectionem Officii cum suo responsorio, ceteris omissis, incipit Missa ab hymno Gloria in excelsis, si dicendus sit, secus ab oratione.

99. If the office of readings comes immediately before another hour of the office, then the appropriate hymn for that hour may be sung at the beginning of the office of readings. At the end of the office of readings the prayer and conclusion are omitted and in the hour following the introductory verse with the Glory to the Father is omitted.

99. Si Officium lectionis dicitur immediate ante aliam Horarr Officii, tune initio Officii lectionis praeponi potest hymnus huic Horae congruus; deinde in fine Officii lectionis omittitui oratio et conclusio, atque in sequenti Hora omittitur versu! introductorius cum Gloria Patri.



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