Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of
the Hours is the daily prayer of the Church which is prayed at
certain significant times of the day. It includes the
Invitatory and a number of "hours".
Invitatory ~ This is the opening prayer of the Office and is prayed at the beginning of the day before the first hour of the Office.
Morning Prayer (Lauds) ~ This hour is prayed at sunrise or in the early morning. It is one of the two most important (hinge) hours of the Office and, if possible, should be prayed in common.
Daytime Prayer (Terce, Sext, None) ~ In the post-Vatican II reform of the office, it is suggested that one of these hours, that which is most convenient for the individual, be prayed. The daytime hours are
Evening Prayer (Vespers) ~ This hour is prayed at sunset, i.e. late afternoon or early evening. It is the second of the hinge hours and, like Morning Prayer, should be prayed in common if possible.
Night Prayer (Compline) ~ This is the "bedtime" hour of the Church's daily prayer and is ordinarily prayed just before retiring.
Office of Readings (Matins, Vigils) ~ This is the only hour which does not have a designated time. In the reforms of the Second Vatican Council it was determined that, because of the varied schedules of people today it would be better to leave to the the group or individual praying, the ability to establish the time for the praying of this meditative hour of reflection on Scripture and the writings of the great spiritual authors.
Go to: http://www.liturgyhours.org/ for the complete daily hours