A life of prayer is central to the life of urban monastics. In general this prayer life follows a liturgical style of daily prayer. This is sometimes called the divine office, daily prayer, or praying the hours.
This approach to a life of prayer dates back to the intertestamental period and was an active part of the life of Jesus and his disciples. It has continued over the following two millennium. When you read about the apostles healing a man at the temple as they went to pray, they were going to pray the hours. When Peter went up to the roof to pray and received the vision of inclusion for the church, he was praying the divine office.
One of our major works is developing our own office. The purpose of this is to reflect the realities, challenges, and hopes we have for a life present with God, and present with others. In the mean time we encourage you to use one of the many existing offices.
Our Divine Work
Above everything else this is our divine work. It is sacred time of communion with our divine God who lives within us, around us, since before time began and until time ends.
The hours of prayer traditionally occur every 3 hours starting at 6am. Since we are all also working we need to be gracious with the timing. These hours started by following the Roman bells which marked time for businesses and markets. These 8 bells a day became guiding points that life structured itself around.
Not all the hours are the same in terms of importance. The hours are broken into Major and Minor hours. The hours are listed below with the emboldened terms being the ones we use:
- Night Vigils or Matins (0h – Minor)
- Night Vigils or Matins (3h – Minor)
- Lauds, Prime, or Morning Prayer (6h – Major)
- Terce or Midmorning Prayer (9h – Minor)
- Sext or Midday Prayer (12h – Minor)
- None or Midafternoon Prayer (15h – Minor)
- Vespers or Evening Prayer (18h – Major)
- Compline or Night Prayer (21h – Minor)
We are starting with a focus on Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. The intention is that we would: complete Lauds within an hour of waking, Vespers in the evening at least an hour before you go to bed, and Compline before you go to sleep.
So far we have created a simple Lauds and simple Compline. These prayers can be said everyday. The intention is that these simple versions could be memorized and used when we are unable to particpate in the daily versions.
The divine office is a work in progress. We are drawing heavily from many different traditions in this work.