1The Prophet says: "Seven times a day have I praised you." (Psalm 119:164). 2We will fulfill this sacred number of seven if we satisfy our obligations of service of Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.I've jumped over Chapters 8-15 as these chapters mainly have to do with the nitty gritty of what is called the Divine Office, when each Office is to happen and what is to be done during each Office. The main thing I want to point to is the Divine Office itself.
The Divine Office, also called the Liturgy of the Hours, is a set of daily prayers scheduled at regular times throughout the day. The Daily Office structures the day like the liturgical calender structures the year. The content of the Divine Hours is mainly focused on praying the Psalms, although other hymns, texts or prayers are also used. Praying the Psalms in the Divine Office is considered to be the proper work of the contemplative monastic community. The Divine Office is the proper work of the monk.
Inspired by Psalm 119:164 (as noted in The Rule) there are seven periods of prayer during the day, the ones named by Benedict above: Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. Beyond these seven hours Benedict also discusses Vigils, prayers said during the night. All told, then, there are eight hours in the Divine Hours. The timings of the prayers from Wikipedia for the Roman Catholic tradition:
- Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn, or 3 a.m.)
- Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = approximately 6 a.m.)
- Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = approximately 9 a.m.)
- Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = approximately 12 noon)
- None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = approximately 3 p.m.)
- Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps", generally at 6 p.m.)
- Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring, generally at 9 p.m.)
- Vigils (during the night, at midnight with some)
That's two out of eight. So I'm 25% monk. For this Lenten season one the things I'm trying to do is commit to the morning, noon, evening, and compline prayer rhythm.