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LITURGY OF THE HOURS

The Psalms were prayed much by Jesus himself. It was from the Psalms

he prayed upon the cross: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me

(Ps 22:1). Through the centuries, Christians have developed a tradition of

praying from the Psalms at set times of the day, calling this form of

prayer “Liturgy of the Hours.” Here at Assumption Abbey, in addition to

daily Eucharist (Mass) we pray Liturgy of the Hours morning, noon and

evening. This prayer practice keeps us mindful of God and “sanctifies”

our day in God’s service.

The Invitatory: Morning Prayer begins with a call to prayer, an

“Invitatory.” A common Invitatory used at Assumption Abbey is Psalm 95:

“Come, ring out our joy to the Lord; hail the rock who saves us. Let us

come before God giving thanks; with songs let us hail the Lord….Come in,

let us bow and bend low, let us kneel before the God who made us; for

this is our God, and we the people who belong to his pasture, the flock

that is led by his hand.” 

Although the Psalms pre-date the birth of our Lord, they serve well in

Christian prayer. Jesus himself prayed the Psalms. In making the Psalms

their own, Christians (with the eyes of faith) find Christ in many of the

Psalms. Further, we pray New Testament verses alongside Psalms in our

Liturgy of the Hours. Near the end of Morning Prayer, and again near the

end of Evening Prayer we pray texts recalling the coming of Christ to

redeem humankind. Selected verses of these texts follow below.

At Morning Prayer (called Lauds in some monasteries), we sing the Song

of Zechariah, rejoicing at the nearness of the savior, for John the

forerunner of Jesus already lives in Elizabeth’s womb. This song is called

the Benedictus, from its first word, in Latin. With Zechariah we sing daily

at our Morning Prayer: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has

visited and redeemed his people, raising up for us a mighty savior from

the house of David, God’s servant….From the tender compassion of our

God, the dawn from on high will visit us, and shine on those in darkness

and the shadow of death, and guide our feet into the way of peace.” The

full text can be found in Luke 1:68-79.

At Evening Prayer (also called Vespers), we sing Mary’s Canticle, rejoicing

that the Messiah, now in Mary’s womb, will raise up the lowly. This song

is called the Magnificat, from its first word, in Latin. With Mary, we sing

daily at our Evening Prayer: “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit

rejoices in God my Savior, who has looked with favor on the lowliness of

his servant….God’s mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear the

Lord….the mercy promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and his heirs

for ever.” The full text can be found in Luke 1:46-55.

Blessed be the Lord! Much of our monastic prayer, Liturgy of the Hours,

is as old as the Psalms, predating the birth of Christ, yet it is very much

Christian prayer, ever mindful of God’s gift to us in Christ. The Liturgy of

the Hours helps us to live gratefully in God’s service, and share the good

news of redemption in Christ with others.

Liturgy of the Hours is becoming better known among the Christian

faithful in our time. Various publishers now offer this form of prayer in

book or periodical format.

The Benedictine Handbook (Liturgical Press, 2003) An all-in one

handbook, complete with topical essays and a two week cycle of

morning and evening prayer (liturgy of the hours). A handsome book to

keep you praying, reading and learning.

Work of God: Benedictine Prayer (Liturgical Press, 1997) An earlier

offering by the same publisher as The Benedictine Handbook (above). A

smaller, more portable book, with a two week cycle of morning and

evening prayer (liturgy of the hours), plus topical essays.

Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates (St Meinrad Archabbey,

2009) A four-week cycle for morning and evening prayer; a single set of

texts for noon prayer and likewise for compline. For the musically

talented, St Meinrad psalm tones included. Leather-like binding, gold-

edge, a beautiful volume.

Magnificat is a popular at-home missal, with complete Scriptures for

daily Mass, a brief morning prayer, evening prayer and night prayer

(Liturgy of the Hours), plus essays and memorials of saints. Subscription

(periodical). Magnificat, P.O. Box 91, Spencerville, MD 20868-9978; Phone

1-800-317-6689;  www.magnificat.net.

Assumption Abbey

Oblates

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(Ps 22:1). Through the centuries, Christians have developed a tradition of

“Invitatory.” A common Invitatory used at Assumption Abbey is Psalm 95:

come before God giving thanks; with songs let us hail the Lord….Come in,

Psalms. Further, we pray New Testament verses alongside Psalms in our

Liturgy of the Hours. Near the end of Morning Prayer, and again near the

and the shadow of death, and guide our feet into the way of peace.” The

At Evening Prayer (also called Vespers), we sing Mary’s Canticle, rejoicing

his servant….God’s mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear the

(periodical). Magnificat, P.O. Box 91, Spencerville, MD 20868-9978; Phone

Assumption Abbey

Email Oblate Director Email Oblate Director
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Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601