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3:15 AM ~ Rising
3:30 AM ~ Vigils
6:00 AM ~ Lauds
6:25 AM ~ Eucharist
7:45 AM ~ Terce
8:00 AM ~ Work
12:15 PM ~ Sext
12:30 PM ~ Dinner
1:00 PM ~ Rest
2:15 PM ~ None
2:30 PM ~ Work
5:30 PM ~ Vespers
6:00 PM ~ Supper
7:30 PM ~ Compline
8:00 PM ~ Retire
Hours, or periods of prayer, are shown in red.

"Hours" are when the monks gather in the church to sing and pray together. The Psalms and Canticles of the Bible form the backbone of these prayer periods. There is always a reading from Holy Scripture, longer or shorter for the different hours. Taken together, these prayer periods form the Liturgy of the Hours.

Liturgy of the Hours

Vigils is the night office. Some monks, notably the Carthusians, rise at midnight to chant this hour and then return to sleep. Most monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict, as we do, rise later at night (or early in the morning) and do not retire after this prayer. The word itself, Vigils, means "watching," and reminds us of the warning of Jesus that we must watch and be prepared at all times for his coming (e.g., at the moment of our death and at the final judgment).

Lauds means "praise" and is the morning prayer. It is one of the two cardinal prayer periods, the other being the evening prayer, Vespers. Formerly, Lauds was prayed at daybreak. Here we pray it at 6 a.m. year-round.

Terce or Tierce comes from the Latin word tertia, meaning "third [hour]." In ancient times, people divided the day into 12 hours and started counting at sunrise. The third hour, therefore, coincided more or less with 9 a.m. Here we pray it at 7:45 a.m.

Sext comes from the Latin word sexta, meaning "sixth [hour]," which, in ancient times was our 12 noon. It was approximately the hour when Jesus was crucified.

None comes from the Latin word nona, meaning "ninth [hour]." That coincides approximately with our 3 p.m. It is also the hour when Jesus died on the cross. We pray None at 2:15 p.m.

Vespers comes from the Latin vesper, meaning "evening." As we saw above, it is the second of the two major prayer periods. It is intended to be prayed by daylight, says St. Benedict in his rule for monks.

Compline comes from the Latin completorium, meaning the ending of the day or night prayer. Originally it seems to have been prayed in the large common dormitory of the monks just before they retired, but for centuries it has been prayed in the church. Originally it was invariable during the whole year, so that it could easily be memorized and prayed in the dark. We pray it at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday Schedule: 8:00 AM Monastic Community Mass; 10:00 AM Traditional Latin Mass for visitors; 2:30–5:30 Public exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Work Day

"When they live by the labor of their hands, as our fathers and the apostles did, then they are really monks," St. Benedict writes in his Rule for Monks (ch 48).

At the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity we put this injunction into practice by earning our own living through farming and other industries and crafts. The members of the community have to be fed, clothed, and have their health needs met. Guests too must be housed and fed. Monks, therefore, are assigned to cleaning and cooking for the community and for the visitors. As far as possible we try to do our own maintenance and repair work in the monastery and the guest quarters.

On our 1800-acre farm approximately 700 acres are cultivated. To grow crops of alfalfa and barley we need to irrigate the fields, because the climate in Utah is comparatively dry. Currently we are leasing the farm land to a neighbor who sees to the irrigation and harvesting of the crops. Similarly, we are leasing our range land and feeding stations to a neighbor who raises beef cattle. Income from these lease arrangements goes for the support of the monks and other charitable purposes.

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