Divine Office

What is the Divine Office? I tried looking it up but i couldn’t find an explanation i could understand.

The Divine Office is the Official prayer of the Church. You might try looking it up by its other name, The Liturgy of the Hours.

The office is a set of prayers offered at various times throughout the day, prayer without ceasing, indeed the sanctification of time itself.

Clerics and some religious are bound to pray at least part of the Office, but the laity may do so as well, either communally (eg in a parish setting) or in private.


The Divine Office is more or less the official prayer book of the Church. I am on a two year mission to learn and pray the entire Office. This is part of being a member of the Confraternity Of Penitents.

Starting point: obtain a copy of THE DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS. DODOS = Devout, Obediant Disciples of Our Savior.

Next, choose a Breviary. The 4 volume Litergy Of The Hours has EVERYTHING. All seven offices of the liturgical day. It will take you about 75 minutes to do all seven. This NOT a requirement except for certain orders.

The shorter one volume CHRISTIAN PRAYER is for those happy to do the the three offices of Morning, Evening, and Night. Ministers and Deacons do this. But even this is not a requirement for the laity.

Why do it at all? To join your voice with all the others doing the Office, in praise of God. To set aside part of the day for spiritual practice.

THE DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS will enable you to master either the one volume or 4 volume versions. :thumbsup:

By the way, here is a SUPERB book to get you started


The quick and easy way to do Compline every night. I can ONLY speak for myself, but once I got into the habit of doing it every night, it was no longer a habit. It was a comfortable ritual to calm me down, no matter what the day had been like. A chance to bring my thoughts back to God before going to sleep.

Is there a different one for years A, B, and C? Or are the prayers done by year only?

The Prayers in THE DIVINE OFFICE are not linked to the prayers used at Mass. THE DIVINE OFFICE is totally seperate from the Mass. The hymns, prayers, psalms, and readings are the same year after year.

There are a very few A/B/C variations – In the full (4-volume) office the antiphons for the Gospel canticles on Sundays vary according to the lectionary cycle.

The primary reason for the bulk of the 4 volumes (which otherwise span the liturgical seasons: Advent & Christmastide; Lent & Easter; Ordinary Time weeks 1-17; and Ordinary Time weeks 18-34) is the Office of Readings, which includes a biblical and non-biblical reading each day.

The 1-volume Christian Prayer whittles this down by including only “selections” of the Office of Readings and of Prayer During the Day. What it does include are the full Psalter for Morning and Evening Prayer, the Celebrations of saints in the general calendar, and a mostly complete Celebration of the Seasons (it includes only one antiphon for each Sunday gospel canticle, rather than the lectionary-based 3, which is what you were asking about in the first place)

Hope that was reasonably clear, if not: ask

That is not correct. The concluding prayer of each Sunday’s office is the same as the opening prayer for that Sunday’s Mass.

And the same is true on other days, with the exception of weekdays in Ordinary Time (provided, eg, that you celebrate the same saint when there is a choice among several).


Ahh, okay. I thought so, but I wasn’t sure. I have prayed the Office several times with the Poor Clares in Valleyfield, the prayers are so beautiful in French! :smiley:
I may be getting the English/Latin version of the Divine Office, very exciting! This pretty much has it all as well, right? link

Also, though I was not explicit [post=1725399]above[/post], each Sunday office provides an A, B and C antiphon, which are related to the A, B and C lectionary readings. (*Christian Prayer *provides only one antiphon, but provides one from each of the A, B and C years in each of the three offices: Evening Prayer I, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer II)


Hmmm :hmmm: Angelus Press appears to cater to the SSPX and other traditionalists.

Nothing I wrote above applies then, as I only have experience of the current Divine Office.


Hello Brooklyn Boy,

You can listen to how the Divine Office is prayed by clicking the left side where it says “Morning and Evening Prayer - Audio” at ewtn.com. Click the day of the week, and then choose morning or evening.

In community, the psalms are said in alternating responses, similar to the way we do the rosary. It is really a nice way to get the flavor of our liturgical prayer.

Eek! Thanks for pointing that out to me. I hadn’t even known what SSPX was before.

Just to muddle things even more :wink:

The 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours, 1-volume Christian Prayer, and an even thinner (more abridged) Shorter Christian Prayer are all ICEL translations approved for public worship in the US (and maybe other countries). Both are available from a couple of publishers.

There is a 3-Volume translation, independent of the ICEL, approved for public worship in the UK (and maybe some other countries). (Those who know both say the translation is much better than the ICEL)

There is a slim volume from Scepter Press, *Lauds and Vespers per annum *(Morning and Evening Prayer throughout the year), which is Latin facing yet another independent English translation. The English is not approved for public worship anywhere, but the Latin is universal. :wink: It includes no other offices, nor any saint’s celebrations, nor anything outside Ordinary Time (ie, “per annum”).

For that matter, the 4-volume *Liturgia Horarum *is the official Latin from which all others are translated, and I believe may be used anywhere, privately or publically (if you can find anyone to worship with). (Similarly, I believe any translation is suitable for private devotion in any locale)


Whew, I hate to be dominating this thread, but… ^_^;
“Shorter Christian Prayer” should be okay? What does it have in it exactly, if anybody knows?

It’s been a while since I’ve held a copy in my hands, but looking at the TOC via Amazon’s “Look Inside” :wink: it has:

*]The 4-week Psalter
*]Night Prayer for the week (looks like I was mistaken about that)
]A representative week of Advent
*]Holy Family
]Representative weekdays of Christmastide
*]Mary the Mother of God
*]The Baptism of the Lord
]A representative week of Lent
*]Passion Sunday
*]Holy Thursday
*]Good Friday
*]Holy Saturday
*]Easter Sunday
]A representative week of the Easter season
*]Trinity Sunday
*]The Body and Blood of Christ
*]Sundays of Ordinary Time 1-34 (Though I’m not sure what they are squeezing into a mere 7 pages!?)
*]Christ the King
*]The following proper celebrations (again, not sure what they are including): The Presentation of the Lord; St Joseph husband of Mary, Annunciation, Nativity of John the Baptist, Ss. Peter and Paul, Transfiguration, Assumption of the BVM, Exaltation of the Cross, All Saints, All Souls, Dedication of St John Lateran, and Immaculate Conception.

(* If I understand correctly)


Sunday Afternoon, Pacific time

Been getting a lot of replies, have we? :smiley:

Like I said, THE DIVINE OFFICE FOR DODOS will help you.

Until then, consider getting a copy of THE LITTLE OFFICE OF MARY. It is far simpler, yet has the same basic design of 7 offices per day, for 7 days of the week. That’s it.

It will get you up and running in no time. You can switch over to THE DIVINE OFFICE as time and comfort allow.:thumbsup:

Note: Strictly speaking. THE LITTLE OFFICE OF MARY is a “Liturgy of the Hours”. Some people use the terms “Liturgy of the Hours” and “The Divine Office” interchangably. Tsk tsk.:rolleyes:

I second the notion of using the Little Office to ease yourself into the full Divine Office - it’s similar enough. Morning and Evening Prayer (Morning Prayer = Prime, Evening Prayer = Vespers) from the Little Office are available here so you can look at them. Ignore the other ‘hours’ and the Litanies at the end for now. The prayers are the same week in week out.

Try it on for size for a week, if you like it then you can look into getting a book of the Little Office with the other Hours in it, and then graduate to the Divine Office :thumbsup:

Hmm. What is the difference between these two?


Version 1 is from 1986 and is hardcover, Version 2 is from 1976 and is vinyl-bound. Is there any difference besides that, do you think?

The dimensions. :slight_smile:

Large Print edition (5.96 x 10.82 x 2 in)

Standard edition (4.96 x 9.68 x 2.48 in)
(and even those dimensions seem “off” to judge by my copy, but that’s what the website says)

I could be wrong, but I believe the contents are otherwise identical.


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