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Example of the Divine Office


The Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours, or the Opus Dei --- the "work of God" ) means certain psalms, prayers, hymns, and Biblical readings to be recited at fixed hours of the day or night according to a general and ancient structure.

An example of a Liturgy of the Hours for the morning prayer (Lauds) is given below, but many forms of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOH) are much simpler. 

Likewise, the actual texts/Psalms/prayers/Litany, etc. to be read or sung will be different from the one given here.

However, the overall structure and sequence of the elements in a Divine Office are fairly standard — having an ancient history. But don't think that everything that is stated in this example will apply to other hours or in every situations, exceptions and special practices abound.

Usually you will take 25 minutes to pray the morning prayer, which along with its companion anchor "Hour" (Vespers or the evening prayer), are the longest Divine Offices of the day (the others take about 15 minutes):

If you are reading this with the question of whether you could do this, you can -- it is not difficult. Find a form of the Liturgy of the Hours that you like and that fits your schedule and spirit. A monk might pray seven times a day, but a monk does not have a child to care for. Be gentle on yourself, this is for freedom in God's strength, not a further burden in your life. A parent up all night with a sick child is also fulfilling a Divine Office.

Seven Divine Offices
During a Day.
Links are to in-depth New Advent Encyclopedia articles

Vigils (after midnight)

Lauds (morning)

The Little Hours:

Terce (midmorning)

Sext (noon)

None (midafternoon)

Vespers (evening)

Compline (night, last prayer of the day)

Read Christ in the Desert Monastery's web site on the Opus Dei for an overall description of the Divine Office and its long history going back to Jewish Old Testament traditions.



Lauds — Morning Prayer

O God, come to my assistance
O Lord, make haste to help me

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 67

A Hymn 

Antiphon 1

(An antiphon is typically one Psalm verse from the Psalm to be read/sung.  The antiphon is read/sung before the Psalm and then repeated after reading/signing the Psalm.  An antiphon usually summaries the main thought of the Psalm.)

Antiphon 1

Antiphon 2

Psalm 5

Antiphon 2


(Typically a canticle is a song that is not a Psalm. Canticles can be from the Old Testament or the New Testament)

Antiphon 3

Psalms 148-150

Antiphon 3

A Short Reading from the Bible 

A Responsory

V. O Lord, rescue my soul from death
R. And keep my feet from stumbling

A Benedictus Antiphon

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free.


(Luke 1:68-79)
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


A Litany

Praise to you, God of mercy who is ever faithful to your love and care for us.  Give us strength and hear us as we pray: LORD COME TO OUR AID.

Let us look only to your love this day and may others see only Christ in us.


Keep our hearts free from the darkness of the world as we walk in the love of your son Jesus who is the light of the world.


Lord let us come into your rest today with all   thankfulness and may your love in us give comfort to those who have lost their way.


Have mercy on those who died, especially ____________.  Grant them your eternal peace as they find your love in your kingdom.


We will now pray as the Lord taught us: Our Father.... 

A Concluding prayer

A Final Blessing

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
be with us now and throughout this day.

A Final Responsory

V. Let us bless the Lord
R. Thanks be to God


At the end of the Divine Office you should be best prepared for silent contemplation with God. 

Some material in the above example was taken from:

"Benedictine Daily Prayer,” (BDP) Maxwell E. Johnson, Editor, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2005.

"The Benedictine Handbook," Anthony Marett-Crosby, Editor, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2003.

Benedictine Daily Prayer (BDP) — Tabs & Guide: How to use this popular book for praying the Benedictine divine office.

Materials for making tabs

Basic Tabs & Guide for using 

These are the tabs I use and have found to be helpful

Benedictine Weekly Psalter, by Scott Knitter

Very rarely do I pray the 150 psalms in a week and the only way I know how to do it easily is to use this well-designed book.

From the Lulu web site:

The psalms and canticles in order throughout the week, for the praying of the Divine Office according to the current guidelines for Benedictine communities (Thesaurus Liturgiae Horarum Monasticae), Schema A2 (psalms of Prime distributed over the other Little Hours). The psalter translation used is that of The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (Episcopal Church, USA). Other material -- such as readings, responses, collects, and antiphons -- is not included. The purpose of this volume is to provide an orderly volume for the recitation of the psalms and canticles in very clear type, with plenty of white space, and no flipping back and forth. Simply page through the psalter as you progress through the week.

The Monastic Diurnal — Sixth Edition, 2004. Published by St. Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, England. 

Some people may prefer the deeper and more beautiful language in this classic book for praying the Benedictine divine office. I do. I use the The Monastic Diurnal (MD) for all offices except vigils because the MD does not have the vigils night office. I still use “Benedictine Daily Prayer” for vigils.

First published in 1948 by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA, for Benedictine sisters while they were away from their convents and for Benedictine oblates (defined), after the fifth edition in 1963, publication of “The Monastic Diurnal” stopped.

Saint Michael's Abbey Press obtained the rights to republish the 1963 edition of “The Monastic Diurnal” and a sixth edition of “The Monastic Diurnal” (same as the fifth with only minor corrections) was copyrighted by Saint Michael's Abbey Press in 2004.

For a description of "The Monastic Diurnal" and a comparison with "Benedictine Daily Prayer" read my several MD blogs on the Oblate Blog here.

I learned from a post on Catholic Online Forum that the the psalms for The Monastic Diurnal were translated by two monks of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA, Paschal Botz, OSB and Basil Stegmann, OSB. I have not had other confirmation of this, but have no reason to doubt the information. 

The reason the question arose about translated the psalms for The Monastic Diurnal is that although the English psalms in The Monastic Diurnal are similar to those in the well-known Douay Rheims Bible, there are differences which prompts many MD lovers to wonder who we should remember and thank.

And if anyone has more information on The Monastic Diurnal, please e-mail me.  Thank you.




* Photo is Chapel Christ in the Desert Monastery Chama River Valley New Mexico June 08 by wordcat57 and is used subject to licenseDouay Rheims Bible


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