Following the tradition of monastic life through the centuries, we recite together every day all the hours of the "Divine Office", also known as "Liturgy of the Hours". This is the official Prayer of the Church, which unites earth to heaven all during the day. We bring all the intentions of the world to these times of prayer which are as ancient as the Church itself.
From the very beginning, the first Christians prayed together at certain hours - for example, at the last hour of the day at dusk, or at the first hour of the day at dawn. Gradually, other hours of the day were sanctified by communal prayer - some of these are found in the Acts of the Apostles (e.g. the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour).
The hours that our Community pray each day are as follows:
Community Prayer follows a set structure. It begins with a hymn, which may be chosen for the feast or season being celebrated. Then follows two or three psalms and a canticle that we usually recite, but on feasts we sing. Next is a short reading from Scripture which is read by the Sister who is leader for the week, and this is followed by some time for reflection. In Morning and Evening Prayer - the two main "hinges" of the day - the Scripture is followed by a Gospel Canticle (the Benedictus in the morning, and the Magnificat in the evening) and also some intercessions ending with the Our Father. Each hour concludes with a short prayer and blessing.
It is a great privilege for us to carry the whole world in our hearts during these times of prayer. By doing so, we are imitating Jesus who prayed constantly to the Father during His life on earth. He too prayed the same psalms, and still prays them in us. We unite with the prayers of all the saints in heaven during these hours of prayer. It is amazing how often we notice that the psalms or scripture set for the day seem to fit a particular intention we are remembering at that time. The Word of God is certainly alive and active!
Read more about our listening to the Word of God here Return to the main Prayer page
© 2009 Carmelite Sisters, Kilmacud