Liturgy of the hours

I have some questions about this as it fascinates me alot and there are plenty of books out there about it, in my native tongue as well as in english.

Ok, here are my questions:

  1. Is the Liturgy of the hours prayers required by the common catholic to participate in?
    (meaning, should i learn them as early as possible?)

  2. Can a regular/common catholic learn and practice them?

  3. Or are they for the more experienced-long time catholics?

  4. Or are they just for the lay people or orders like The Franciscans, The Dominicans ++

This may sound strange-stupid, but i am eager to learn (perhaps too eager?)

Thanks and God bless you all.

No, yes, no and no.

LOTH are not required for the laity. Deacons are obligated to recite the morning and evening prayers and I belive priests and bishops recite all seven daily sets of prayers.

Many regular Catholics recite the liturgy. I try to do the morniung and evening prayers every day but am not as faithful as I wish I was. You don’t have to be an “Experienced” Catholic nor do you have to be a mature Christian. Anyone can do it. It takes a little getting used to at first but the LOTH are beatuful liturgical prayers which anyone can recite.

I find that reciting the liturgy enhances the Mass. Many of the themes will conincied between the two during the liturgical seasons and it adds another dimension. It also helped me start a life of prayer when I was not that well disciplined and needed that structure.

No, not just for religious orders. Many orders in fact, have their own liturgy. I know that the Cistercians (Trappists) have a two week cycle which they pray five times each day.


Learn flamenco guitar or jazz piano,much easier.

Not as rewarding. If grace moves you pray with the church.


Hello! Welcome to CAF!

Here the low-down:

The laity is not required to recite LOTH, but…
Any of them may, and it is encouraged by the church to do so, especially in groups. If you have a chance, I would learn them. Any priest or deacon (and even a fair amount of the laity) could show you how after you get the books.

[quote=General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours]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.” [94]

Hope this helps!

Us Secular Franciscans are required to pray morning and evening prayers. As the the General Instructions suggest that all participate. Some churches sometimes have Vesper services like the Vatican does on feast and solemnities

Actually it is requirement of all perfect institutions - which is the wording for all lay orders.

FWIW, while Secular Franciscans are required by the Rule to practice liturgical prayer, and we are strongly encouraged to pray morning and evening prayer to fulfill that, it’s not a sin if we don’t. A crying shame :wink: but not a sin. Whereas i believe clergy would be sinning if they didn’t, right?

Actually - the Rule is professed under pain of mortal sin. However, while most SFO choose the LOTH due to the communal nature there are five divine offices that can be chosen from. So no it is not a sin not to pray the LOTH if you are professed but it is a sin not to pray one of the divine offices.

There are 5 mandatory Offices for priests or bishops: Office of Readings (Vigils), Morning Prayer (Lauds), mid-day prayer (at the hour of either Terce, Sext or None), Evening Prayer (Vespers), Night Prayer (Compline).

Additionally, some communities, particularly those that recite the Offices in choir, are bound by their constitutions to pray all the “little hours”, namely Terce, Sext and None, making a total of 7 Offices.

As a Benedictine Oblate I am required to recite a part of the Divine Office as much as I can fit it into my daily schedule. It depends on my work day; I use a monastic schema (the psalter on a 1-week or optional 2-week cycle, the same schema as the abbey I am affiliated with), but I usually manage at least Vigils, Lauds, mid-day, Vespers and Compline. When I work from home I throw in Terce as well, and combine Sext and None.

You can never be too eager! God bless you.

What are the other divine offices the SFO can choose from?

A quick tip. The “Divine Office for DoDo’s” a great book that gives how, why and even a little bit of history.
Fascinating as it teaches all Offices and has a great Reference section that teaches what to say and when to say it, meaning all of the Canticles etc.
Great book to get you on your way. Buy it, use it learn it, then find someone to give it to :slight_smile:
As you will no longer need it. Great idea, learn the prayer, pass on your book and your faith. Great for the soul, great for the invironment.

Oh boy - here goes:

The Magnificat
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Office of the Passion

(Honestly I cannot remember the last one to save the life of me - I apologize)

I would ask members of secular institutes especially “lay orders,” etc. to carefully review their own Statutes in this regard. For example, the Lay Carmelite statutes use the word “should” in this regard (#38, Rule for the Third Order of Carmel)

Canon 663 - 3. it may be noted, falls under “Institutes of Consecrated Life,” which is situated before the section “Societies of Apostolic Life”, so, again, it is helpful to consult one’s constitutions and statutes, or secure the assistance of one’s provincial superiors to determine the nature of obligations in this matter. It is not a matter to seek opinions on the Internet for, unless they are in reference to specific published regulations that have authoritative status.

Actually where it talks about the LOTH and the need is what is referred to as “perfect institutions.” This is where lay orders, secular orders, and third orders are described. No, it is not in the changes to the Canon it was in Apostolic decree when the LOTH was changed. I apologize that I do not have this at my fingertips right now. I also think that maybe you might be rushing to judgement that some of us do not know each other from other threads such as the vocations thread and know where we are at and are able to discern if we want to listen to advice freely given or not listen at all. God bless and Pax et Bonum

This didn’t sit well with me, so I put in a question to my local Spiritual Assistant, and am waiting on an answer. In initial formation, i was clearly taught that the Secular obligation was a great deal more flexible than the Religious or Clerical, and that it was not under pain of mortal sin. The obligation was to liturgical prayer and could be fulfilled by daily Mass, too, and the Franciscan crown, etc. Definitely more a should than a must. I have always been very open that given the way my life runs (and our Rule is very clear that we must not neglect our secular duties), it is much more likely that I will hit Morning Prayer, Night Prayer, and weekday Mass on most days.

I certainly made a very serious permanent Profession, and in formation we went over every article of the Rule and every word of the constitutions, and never did mortal sin come up. I would have been very hesitant to profess a Rule that read like a checklist.

That is one of the reasons that the entire formation program is being redone from National on down - and that two years as a regarded as a minimum and not a norm. We have a more than a few members on our formation committee that have served as both Regional and National Formation Members as well as some that worked on this program due to the fact that currently there are many wearing the Tau that do not understand that they are in a vocation. Not saying this is you or your Fraternity but this is why the formation programs needed to be handled more uniformly. That has already been a whole other discussion on the vocations topic.

I would hardly say the LOTH is a checklist - it is a matter of joining in community throughout the world with other perfect insititutions, clergy, and religious. It is a communal prayer. What are Secular Franciscans? Communal people. The community is the most important level of worship of the SFO - not the person. Just some food for thought.

Pax et Bonum

In addition since I ran out of time:

Here is some of the theology behind it - we make solemn promises with profession - which places those professed into the state of consecrated life in the secular world - I can find that documented for you if you need that. To draw a parallel a secular clergy also has solemn promises into his vocation. When he fails to uphold his vocation duties what type of sin do you think that is? Now obviously if one does not have full knowledge then this changes things but we do have three solemn promises which correspond to the three knots on the Tau (give or take as the wording is not an exact translation): Chastity, Obedience, and Poverty. To do anything else is a violation of a solemn promise made to God. That Rule of Order that covers how we are to live on a daily basis is not a checklist it is an identity. It is not something we do - it is something that we were supposed to be and have allowed the Church to have confirmed just as any other vocation within the Church.

I’m getting my one on one formation from one of the people working on formation from the top down, so it’s five star. We have former national and current regional formation people in the local fraternity. But nobody ever mentioned mortal sin, or a limitation on what fulfilled the requirement for prayer. I’m still waiting on the spiritual assistant for an answer, which I’ll pass on when it comes.

Here’s a commentary written by my late Spiritual Assistant to my former Secular Order Discalaced Carmelite group, on the Rule of Life.

This section addresses praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

Article 5: Liturgical Life: Mass and Divine Office: confession; acts of Christian Piety – (read it)

“The liturgical life, as a perennial participation in the Paschal Mystery, nourishes the Secular Carmelites in their daily commitment to follow Christ crucified and risen. It leads toward an ever more perfect union with God, by making the pains and joys of their life an offering of praise and glory to God.

Their liturgical life will express itself chiefly through participation in the Eucharist and in the celebration of the Church’s Divine Office. They will, as far as possible, join in the celebration of daily Mass, and each day recite Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) from the Breviary; if possible they will recite Night Prayer (Compline) before retiring.

For a good reason, their other prayers may be substituted for the Office

Commentary can be read here;

We were instructed that it is not a mortal sin for a professed to miss saying the LOTH’s, but disobedience to the Rule of Life, could be.


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