Sister Charlotte Sonneville, OSB
As I was pondering why St. Benedict wrote 12 chapters of his Rule on the Opus Dei (Work of God) – what we now refer to as the Liturgy of the Hours – I read this line from Psalm 66: “Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of God’s name, O render God glorious praise.”
We become the voice of all of creation in rendering praise and gratitude to God. We pray in the name of all people and send heartfelt petitions day and night.
The Hours were to be made up of the 150 Psalms, hymns, Scripture Readings and prayers.
I can imagine St. Benedict recognizing this task as the essential work of every Monastic community.
No matter where the monks were working, he asked that they pause 7 times a day to give praise and gratitude to God in the name of all creation.
Today, our community gathers together to pray the following Hours of the Day together:
Lauds (Morning Prayer), in which we begin our day with the words, “O Lord open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.”
Noon Day Prayer was once comprised of all the “Little Hours of the Day” – Prime, Terce, Sext and None. Today, the Sisters who are home at noon (those who do not work away from the monastery) gather to pray this prayer in place of the 4 Little Hours. We remind ourselves of our call to praise and give thanks to God in the name of all creation, as well as to be good stewards of all that God has created.
Vespers (Evening Prayer) in which we give praise and thanks to God for all the good that God continues to do for us.
Lauds and Vespers are called the “Hinge Hours” of our day. We all make every effort to participate in this essential daily act of worship with our community.
Compline (Night Prayer) in which we end our day with praise.
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is both a privilege and a duty for every Benedictine. We invite you to join us.