Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fixed Hour Prayer (part3) Structure of the Hours

The Structure of the Hours

Saint Benidict of Nersia is credited with the formal incorporation of the hours. This practice however is taken from what John Cassin descrbes in his two works "the institues" and " the conferences ". In those pages he details the monastic practices of the Desert Fathers of Eygpt.
By the end of the 5th century the liturgy of the hours was made up of the night service (the vigil) and seven day services of which the prime and the compline seem to be the last added as the fourth century Apostolic Constitution does not mention them.
The following is how they appear after the 5th century.
Mantins (during the night) also referred to as vigil or nocturne
Lauds - dawn prayer
Prime - morning prayer (first hour) 6:00
Terce - mid morning prayer (third hour) 9:00

Sext - midday (noon sixth hour) 12:00

None - mid afternoon (ninth hour) 3:00 pm

Vespers - evening, night prayer, at the lighting of the lamps

Compline- before retiring

Mary and i started keeping the morning office first. Added the evening. Then eventually included the miday. We eased into this rythm inside a year. We found it quit natural and easy to adapt to. We really enjoy the office and find it disappointing when we miss it.
Technically we take a stab at keeping the third hour, the sixth hour, vespers and on occasion the compline.

for more information on the office or fixed hour prayer as it is also known.

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