Communal Worship

According to St. Benedict, Opus Dei—the work of God—is to be preferred by the monk above everything else.

In Trappist monasteries, we often use these words to describe the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office, a practice where we gather seven times a day to chant prayers and listen prayerfully to the word of God.

Chanting the Psalms to a short melody was discovered in ancient times to be very conducive to prayer, and Trappists continue the practice to this day.

While the specific times and practices vary by monastery, Liturgy of the Hours generally begins in the dark early morning hours and concludes in the evening before we retire to our cells.

These hours include:

Vigils, the pre-dawn prayer service

Lauds, the morning prayer shortly after sunrise

The Little Hours (Terce, Sext, None), shorter prayers times to mark mid-morning, midday and mid-afternoon

Vespers, the evening prayer service

Compline, the nighttime closing prayer

Each of these prayer services consecrates a particular hour of the day—yet for Trappists, there is the curious sense of stepping outside of time when praying the Divine Office. Our Prayer unites us to each other in community and intercedes for the larger Church and the needs of the world.