The Divine Office and the Breviary
What is the Divine Office?
Certain prayers are so important that they
represent the official public Prayer of the Church. Chief among these is
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which unites us spiritually and
physically to God. In second place of importance are the seven
Canonical Hours of the Divine Office, which
sanctify the different parts of the day and keep us ever in the sight of
God. The Hours of the Office may vary in length and solemnity, but
together they form a unified approach to our daily communication with
God, reflecting the themes of the current liturgical season and daily
feastdays. Like stars surrounding the infinite brightness
of the sun, which is the Mass, the Hours of the Office merge with the Mass to form a
single prayer, the public worship of God in the name of the Church, elevating our souls and inspiring our thoughts, words and
What is the Breviary?
The Breviary is one of
the official liturgical books of the Church, containing all the
texts for the Divine Office, whether said in choir or in private.
There are various forms of the Breviary in use in certain dioceses and
religious orders, the most common being The Roman Breviary
which contains the Divine Office for the Western or Latin Rite of the
Roman Catholic Church. The contents of the Breviary, in their
essential parts, are derived from the early ages of Christianity, and
consist of Psalms, Scripture Lessons, Writings of the Church Fathers, as
well as Hymns and Prayers.