Praise is the primary duty of a Christian towards God, of any creature towards the Creator. Praise is the unlimited appreciation of the grandeur of God. “He alone is good,” Jesus says, and he moves us to love him in the fullness of his beauty.
The Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, is a prayer-filled communal celebration, an extension of our oblation of our selves with Christ in the Eucharist. Even the private recitation of the Office is offered in union with the faithful and is considered a communal activity. For busy clergy or those with family responsibilities saying even one or two of the Hours is a beneficial discipline and sacrifice made to the glory of God.
Spiritual tradition has always considered the celebration of praise at the Office to be a truly angelic function, and this is why the monastic life is often called an 'angelic life.' Reciting the Office is a way of anticipating the life of heaven by the sanctification of time. Praising God at regular intervals during the day makes the entire day holy to God.
Here at St. Mary's, we use the Monastic Diurnal Revised as our guide through the canonical Hours, set within the sisters' daily schedule and following an Ordo calendar through the liturgical year.
Most of the Offices are chanted in English (in both America and Malawi) according to a plainsong tradition observed at CSM for over eighty years. The Malawian sisters have also translated the Monastic Diurnal Revised into Chichewa for recitation purposes.
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