OFFICE OF READINGS

    First Reading        I Maccabees 3:1-26
    Responsory        I Maccabees 3:20,22,19,21,22
    Second Reading     Writing of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop
    Responsory        Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:25

MORNING PRAYER

    Hymn
    [Three selections from psalms and canticles, each with its own antiphon, and a pause after each selection for a moment of personal reflection.  For this example day, the selections given might be:  Psalm 36, Canticle of Judith 16:2-3,13-15, Psalm 47]
    Reading:  [e.g. Tobit 4:15a,16a,18a,19]
    Responsory
    Antiphon and Canticle of Zechariah [Benedictus]
    Intercessions [voiced or silent prayers for those in need]
    Our Father [Lord’s Prayer]
    Closing Prayer

DAYTIME PRAYER - Each choice has the same format but different prayers.
    Hymn [may be recited]
    [Three selections from psalms and canticles, each with its own antiphon, and a pause after each selection for a moment of personal reflection.]
    Reading:  [e.g. 1 Peter 1:13-14 or 1 Peter 1:15-16 or James 4:7-8a,10]
    Responsory
    Closing Prayer

OPTIONAL ADDITION AT MIDDAY
    
Short period of silent reflection and meditation.
    The Angelus - an ancient tradition (Sunrise, Midday, Sunset) of ringing the church bell and reciting the Angelus Prayers:  "The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary and she conceived of the Holy Spirit..... etc."









EVENING PRAYER
    
Hymn
    [Three selections from psalms and canticles, each with its own antiphon, and a pause after each selection for a moment of personal reflection.  For this example day, the selections given might be:  Psalm 27 part 1, Psalm 27 part 2, Canticle of Colossians 1:12-20]
    Reading:  [e.g. James 1:22,25]
    Responsory
    Antiphon and Canticle of Mary [Magnificat] - Luke 1:46-55
    Intercessions [voiced or silent prayers for those in need]
    Our Father [Lord’s Prayer]
    Closing Prayer & Blessing

NIGHT PRAYER - [Usually said in private before bedtime]
    This spiritual exercise has had various titles and content over the ages since the Apostles first gathered together to pray immediately after the death of Jesus.  Actually, the prayers were long a custom of the Israelites who had adapted the policy from their neighbors.  Since the first and early followers of Jesus were Israelites, they no doubt followed this custom while Jesus was in his ministry period.  The exercise stems from the recognition of Creation and worship of its Maker.  For the Israelites, The Book of Psalms was the prayer book and the hymnal.  In the Christian faith, The Book of Psalms became the very center of Liturgy of the Hours.
    I first knew this spiritual exercise as the Divine Office while I was in novitiate at San Miguel Mission in California where the breviary was written in Latin worldwide.  As a religious community, we recited and chanted (in Gregorian Chant) the Office at appointed times every day, starting at 5:30 AM.   The Office was and is REQUIRED daily reading for all ordained deacons and priests under penalty of grave sin -- it is one of the obligations assumed by the individual at that level of responsibility, as is the obligation of chastity for priests.
    The prayers are contained in a four-volume set of books called the breviary and they cover the entire liturgical year starting with Advent, the beginning of the calendar of the Christian church in anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah.  The prayers consist of material from the Holy Bible [Old and New Testaments with special emphasis on the Psalms]. The Office has also been known as Holy Hours, Holy Office, etc.
    Since Vatican Council II in 1963, The ancient custom of frequent formal prayer each day has been “updated” in the Roman Catholic Church to make it more adaptable to today’s conditions.  The intent and content, in general, remains unchanged.  Significant changes are:
    1.   The prayers may be said in the local language to encourage lay participation.
    2.   The time of day that the Hours are said may vary during the day.
    3.   Emphasis is still on Morning Prayer [replaces Prime and Lauds] and Evening Prayer [Vespers].  During the daytime one [or more] of Midmorning Prayer, Midday Prayer, or Midafternoon Prayer may be chosen to be read at the appropriate time.  The Night Prayer is before retiring and is usually said privately.
    4.   The Office of Readings [replaces Matins] is recited as part of one of the major prayer times, usually either Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer.
LITURGY OF THE HOURS
AN EXAMPLE
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
31st Week in Ordinary Time
Vestment Color:  Green
The Angelus