Help! LotH!

Hi all,

In a bid to increase my devotion and make my prayer life more fervent and meaningful, I decided to ease my way into praying the LotH. I had been using the app because it gives a community feel to the prayer when you’re by yourself. This weekend I purchased two of the four volumes of the Catholic Book Publishing version of the LotH. When I went to pray Night Prayer before bed I found that the pages I was being directed to by the small guide I bought with my volumes wasn’t matching the version. I know there has to be a simple explanation for this but I’m so at everything I can’t figure out the differences.


What volume and pages were you being directed to in each source?

I know I’m in the right volume, as we’re in the 2nd week of Ordinary Time, Vol III right?

I’ll use a simple example for today. I went into the Proper of Saints which for today 1/22 is St Vincent (Vol III pg 1315). There in the proper it gives the corresponding common (for St Vincent it’s “Common of One Martyr” Vol III pg 1707). From the common it directs you to the
Ordinary for the Invitatory Psalm (Vol III pg 649). All that is clear as I have to track all though my missal at Mass (I attend a Trad Latin Mass parish using the 1962 missal) for some Masses. But when I go to to get the audio, I instead of Psalm 95 like it reads in the Ordinary, has Psalm 100

Any idea where I’m going wrong?

There are optional alternate psalms for the Invitatory and it seems that DO has selected one of these. The breviary (print edition) should list about 4 psalms that one may substitute with the only caveat that if that psalm comes up in the later hours then Psalm 95 must be substituted for it.

The only problem is that you are attempting to follow two sets of instructions. Any day you may use the psalter for that day (e.g. Tuesday of Week II) unless a solemnity supercedes it. If there is a memorial, you may choose to use the current saint’s entry, with the common, etc, but don’t expect DO to make the same choice as you.

If it makes most sense for you to use the breviary for Lauds and Matins but DO for Vespers, then just do that and don’t worry if you occasionally use different sets.

The piece you may be missing is “The Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist” - the book/calendar that gives the readings and prayers for the day for your particular diocese.

Yesterday was the memorial for Saint Agnes, celebrated in the Universal Church. So we used the prayers from the memorial. Today is the optional memorial of Saint Vincent outside the United States. The Divine Office site uses the calendar for the US, so today is just Tuesday of the second week of ordinary time on DO.

The Invitatory is a special case, there are several Psalms you can use (95, 100, 67, 24) depending on circumstances.

Thanks for all the answers! I think that will get me on the way to getting things straight!

You might compare page numbers on a day that’s not a Memorial or Feast.

There are more variations/choices for saint’s days. it’s in the Ordinary (instruction section).

I use DO app more than my books lately. I never use their audio, just my preference to read/ pray it myself.

There are many options in the celebration of the LOTH. For example, for memorials without propers, you can take the invitatory antiphon, the hymn, the gospel canticle antiphon, the readings, the responsory and the intercessions optionally from either the commons or the day. So it would not be surprising to hear two public celebrations for the same memorial that vary greatly, one where office is entirely of the day except for the collect, and one uses the above elements from the commons, including everything in between.

Does anyone know where I can get easy to understand directions on how to pray the LOTH? I want to start but all the directions I find online are confusing to me.

I cant afford to but the books right now so I plan on using the online version (

What parts are prayed, sung, etc?? Are there specific times?

Thanks for any help.

You can start with the Liturgy of the Hours itself.

Read the instructions under the section entitled “The Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours.” The rubrics (instructions) are printed in red. Read and master those and you will know exactly what to pray for any given day.

The second you should read is the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, at the beginning of volume I. Not only does it have more detailed instructions and options, it also has a rich theological introduction to the liturgy itself.

Fortunately, compiles everyting for you so you won’t need to flip between sections.

Probably the best way is to start with a single “hour” and add others until you are praying those that fit into your life the best. I recommend you start with Evening Prayer (Vespers). Later, you can add Morning Prayer (Matins), Night Prayer (Compline) and the Invitatory (Lauds). In that order and only so far as matches your particular spirituality and time committments allow.

(disclaimer: I typically say Evening Prayer or a Rosary before bed and only rarely say any of the others at this time. I have said the others in the past and frequently add them back when I am on vacation or retreat).

Times are flexible (so you can work it into your schedule) so the following is a “general guide”, not set in stone.

5AM or immediately upon rising or immediately before Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer
7AM or immediately following the Invitatory* (I say Morning Prayer as late as 9AM - LOTH purists will note that I encroach on Terce :p)

Evening Prayer
5PM or later

Night Prayer
Immediately before retiring to bed. (I am not aware of any instruction placing Evening Prayer immediately before Night Prayer but have done this in the past)

  • When Morning Prayer immediately follows the Invitatory, the call to prayer (“God, come to my assistance…”) is omitted.

Read the ordinary of your LiTH, and you will see that the instructions say that the complines is to begin with a penitential rite like that at the mass, If that discrepancy is what you are reffering to then you should make an examination of conscience and then say one of the penitential prayers that they say at teh beginning of mass or you could make an acto of contrition. Then continue on.

I’m not really sure about encroaching. For many bound to the LOTH, such as diocesan priests, they are bound to only one daytime hour, but remain bound to the Office of Readings, Lauds, Vespers and Compline.

For such people, reciting Lauds at 9:00 then Sext at around 12:00 then Vespers at the proper time is in full compliance with their obligation. If they sleep in and get up at 10:00 AM, they must still recite Lauds at that time and fulfill their Daytime Prayer obligation at Sext or None. and I see no reason laymen cannot follow this practice and still retain the Office’s public character.

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