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What is the Liturgy of the Hours?
What is the Universalis web site?

The Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office) is the richest single prayer resource of the Christian Church. It provides prayers, psalms and meditation for every hour of every day. It has existed from the earliest times, to fulfil the Lord's command to pray without ceasing.   Never monotonous, always new, it provides the means for the whole world, united, to pray together and sanctify every hour of every day of every year. All over the world, hundreds of thousands of priests and religious have vowed to pray the Liturgy daily, and all over the world they do, in public and in private, in tin shacks and cathedrals, in palaces and in prison camps.

But the Liturgy's very richness is also its weakness. The liturgical calendar, the four-week cycle of psalms, the celebrations of saints - all these interact in an intricate dance of prayer that requires some 6,000 pages of small print in 3 or 4 volumes. The complete books (the Breviary) are expensive to buy, heavy to carry, and, except for the really dedicated, complex to use. Thus many people with a busy life in the world are unable to undertake the project of praying the liturgy, and so it remains shamefully unused.

“The purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify the day and all human activity.”

“The Office is... the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole People of God.”

Apostolic Constitution, Canticum Laudis.

 

This site does all the calendar calculations for you, and presents you with the psalms and readings for each hour of today, every day.   For instructions, please see the links at the top of this page.  As well as the Web, Universalis content is also available for WAP phones, by email, and by web feed for syndication.

As we embark on the third millennium, it becomes more important than ever that we should obey the Lord's command and pray without ceasing, to sanctify time, the world, and ourselves.   The Universalis Web site has been created, to give us all, wherever we are, at all times, the chance to participate in the Church's universal prayer. One click - one bookmark - and we can pause for a moment in our busy lives and contemplate what really matters.

This site uses the version of the Liturgy of the Hours given in the Roman Breviary - but the Divine Office is for all Christians and not just Catholics. Christians of many other denominations, including Anglicans, Methodists, and Baptists, are using this site on a regular basis.

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