VESPERS, the prayers of the eleventh Canonical Hour, corresponding to five o'clock in the afternoon and, accordingly, called in Arabic salat al-ghurub, the sunset prayer. It was instituted to commemorate the removal of the body of Christ from the cross, its enshrouding in linen and its anointment with spices (Mt. 27:57; Mk. 15:42-45; Lk. 23:50-52; Jn. 19:38). It is also a reminder of the evanescence of human life and of the importance of being ready at all times for the hour of death.
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