Sung toward evening, Vespers is the second of the two “hinge” hours. It is a service of praise, but with a stronger accent on thanks for the day’s blessings. Vespers is often related to the Eucharist because of its note of thanksgiving and its time of day. In fact many of its psalms are Eucharistic, including those sung at the Lord’s Supper, the Hallel (Pss. 112-117), and the Gradual Psalms (119-133) sung by pilgrims making their way to the Temple in Jerusalem. Four psalms, each with its antiphon, are sung. Again the structure is that of Lauds.
As the climax of Lauds is the Benedictus, that of Vespers is the other great canticle of the first chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel, the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, the glorious song of praise and thanks offered by the Blessed Mother of God, the image of the Church, filled with God’s love and singing of his marvelous works.