Catholic Vocations
Archdiocese of Melbourne

The Divine Office
The Divine Office, also called the Liturgy of the Hours, is the public prayer of the Church intended to offer worship to God and to sanctify the day. It consists of hymns, biblical and extra-biblical readings, and prayers offered at set times over the course of the day (Morning, Evening, and Night.)


The Liturgy of the Hours is required for those possessing holy orders (deacons, priests, and bishops) and for those men and women in religious orders (CIC 1174). For others it is highly recommended.

To view a website with today's prayers, click here.


An Introduction to Prayer

Prayer is like breathing for the soul. Did you ever try to stop breathing for a few days? What would happen to your body in that case happens to your Christian life when you stop praying.

Imagine trying to build and deepen a friendship without communicating or spending time with your friend. In the same way, how can we let God fill our life with joy, light, strength, and purpose if we don't spend time with him, get to know him, enter into a dynamic, personal relationship with him in prayer?

St Paul urges us: "Pray without ceasing." (1Thessalonians 5:17). Christ himself admonishes us: "Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." (Mark 14:38). St Theresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church, makes it potently clear: "He who neglects mental prayer needs not a devil to carry him to hell, but he brings himself there with his own hands." (Quoted by St Alphonsus Liguori in The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection.)

Here's how the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it in number 2558:

"Great is the mystery of the faith!" The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy, so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer. (emphasis added)

Types of Prayer

The Church recognizes many different kinds of prayer, which can be grouped together under three general categories: vocal prayer, mental prayer, and contemplative prayer.

Vocal prayer consists in reciting, either out loud or to oneself, the words of previously composed prayers, and aligning one's thoughts and desires to their meanings.

Mental prayer combines personal reflection on a text from the Bible or from some other spiritual work with words of one's own, spoken to God in a heart-to-heart conversation. Mental prayer is also commonly known as Christian meditation.

Contemplative prayer brings the soul into more direct contact with God, often without words or ideas; it is the prayer of being in the presence of God, loving him and knowing you are loved by him.

Prayer has as its ultimate goal to praise God and to receive his grace, to deepen our personal communion with God and strengthen the Church. The time we spend in prayer should awaken in our hearts attitudes of adoration, wonder, gratitude, petition, and contrition. 

How to Pray

We learn to pray by praying. The single most important factor in our life of prayer is our decision to make prayer an integral part of our life. If God matters to me, I will make time for prayer. If he doesn't, I won't.

Prayer, conversation with God, should accompany us throughout our entire day. We should invite God to be a part of all our joys and sorrows, our struggles and concerns, our projects and decisions. He is a loving Father who longs to be "let in" to his children's lives.

Nevertheless, the hectic pace of life requires us to set aside some time to be alone with God. We need to "tune in" to him frequently each day, so that our activities don't end up crowding him out, so that we recognize his action in our daily lives, and so we never impede the grace that he wants to give others through us.

To maintain a healthy prayer life, and therefore a healthy relationship with God, experience has shown the following prayer commitments to be helpful:

- Starting the day with a morning offering

- Ending the day with a brief prayerful reflection on how the day went

- Dedicating 10-15 minutes each day to mental prayer

- Praying the Angelus

- Praying a decade of the rosary sometime during the day

- Regular confession (every month or every two weeks)

- Going to Mass during the week in addition to Sundays

- Praying before meals

- Visiting Christ in the Eucharist

No prayer book, however, can pray for you. God will never force his way into our lives; what kind of friend would? Each one of us has to decide, every day, how much God matters to us, and pray accordingly.



Living the Mass
What is Mass?

The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life," (Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, #11), so it must also become that for each of our individual Christian lives. Christ's sacrifice, the extreme demonstration of his love, is made present in the celebration of the Eucharist as a grace-filled event. It is more than a mere dramatic representation of a past event; in the celebration of the Eucharist Christ offers himself and his sacrifice so we can make it our own and share in it.

The Church calls all of us to participate in the Mass actively and consciously. This requires us to learn about it, to give our heartfelt attention during its celebration, and to go beyond the minimum of a dutiful, routine attendance on Sunday morning - although that is an excellent place to start.

Attending daily Mass once or more often during the week, in addition to Sundays, does wonders for our interior peace and our effective use of time.

Doing it Better

One way to improve our participation is to echo in our hearts the five fundamental attitudes of prayer in the Liturgy, which can easily be remembered by the acronym "ALTAR": Adoration of God's greatness and beauty, Love for each person of the Blessed Trinity, Thanksgiving for all the gifts we receive from God, Asking for all that we need, Repenting from our sins and our sinful tendencies.

Paying attention to the meaning behind the words and gestures of the Mass helps us enter more fully in to this most sacred prayer of the Church.

Getting to Mass a few minutes early gives us time to focus the attention of our hearts on the mystery about to take place, and remaining for a few minutes afterwards in intimate conversation with Christ who has come to us in holy communion can allow God's grace to take deeper root in our lives.


An Examination of Conscience

An examination of conscience seeks to help one discern how they have lived according to the moral law. While this is required as part of the sacrament of Confession, the Church encourages her members to reflect on their actions at the end of every day. Below is an example of an examination of conscience.

[1]   I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.

  • Do I give God time every day in prayer?
  • Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
  • Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
  • Do I seek to surrender myself to God's Word as taught by the Church?
  • Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
  • Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?

[2]     You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

  • Have I used God's name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
  • Have I been angry with God?
  • Have I wished evil upon another person?
  • Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

[3]     Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.

  • Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
  • Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
  • Do I do needless work on Sunday?

[4]     Honor your Father and your Mother.

  • Do I honor and obey my parents?
  • Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
  • Have I given my family good religious example?
  • Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
  • Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

[5]    You shall not kill.

  • Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?
  • Have I physically harmed anyone?
  • have I abused alcohol or drugs?
  • Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
  • Have I been angry or resentful?
  • Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
  • Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?
  • Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

[6]    You shall not commit adultery.

  • Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
  • Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?
  • Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?
  • Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?
  • Have I been guilty of masturbation?
  • Have I sought to control my thoughts?
  • Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
  • Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?
  • Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions?
  • Am I careful to dress modestly?

[7]    You shall not steal.

  • Have I stolen what is not mine?
  • Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
  • Do I waste time at work, school or at home?
  • Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
  • Do I pay my debts promptly?
  • Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

[8]     You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  • Have I lied?
  • Have I gossiped?
  • Have I spoken behind someone else's back?
  • Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
  • Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
  • Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

[9]     You shall not desire your neighbor's wife.

  • Have I consented to impure thoughts?
  • Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations or curiosity?
  • Do I seek to control my imagination?
  • Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

[10]     You shall not desire your neighbor's goods.

  • Am I jealous of what other people have?
  • Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
  • Am I greedy or selfish?
  • Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
  • Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?
The Angelus

The Angelus


The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

The Lords Prayer (Our Father)

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.


The Hail Mary

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.


The Glory Be

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.

Prayers for Vocational Discernment

Augustinian Prayer for Discernment

For One's Vocation

Prayer to St Joseph for Discernment

St Francis of Assisi's Vocation Prayer

Prayer of John Henry Newman

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Prayer to your Guardian Angel

Morning Offering

Act of Contrition

The Angelus

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