The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Learn how to pray the LOBVM with others

Many Catholics desire to deepen their prayer lives and those devoted to Our Lady have a beautiful outlet in the Rosary. But are you aware of the other great Marian prayer? Since at least the eighth century, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary has helped the faithful to consecrate the day with prayers, psalms, and hymns of great beauty.

Others who have investigated reciting the Liturgy of the Hours, but found its length and depth intimidating will find refreshment in these brief hours. It is a primer in the art of “praying without ceasing” and the simple structure of the hours lends a deeper understanding over time of the importance of posture, gesture, and attitude when praying.

This volume is unique in several ways. The text is heavily annotated with the rubrics (instructions) on how the hours are prayed. Since it is structured as a liturgy (whether prayed liturgically or not), it has a set structure and flow. Other editions of the Little Office give the prayers, anthems, hymns, and verses in their proper order, but gives the reader no idea of how it looks when prayed in community.

With this volume, you will know from the first page what to do. These hours can be prayed by an individual, by two or three gathered in prayer, or by a larger group of people. Once you have prayed it a few times and learned the hymns and antiphons (there are only eight) you will be eager to invite others to join you. The four hymns are new arrangements that can be sung in English or Latin since the meter is the same; the four Marian anthems can be chanted in Latin, or sung to the hymn tunes.

Whether you only pray the principal hours (Matins, Lauds, and Vespers), or one of them, or all seven, your prayer life will be enriched for your effort.

Or for Individual Prayer

This “Little Office” of the Blessed Virgin Mary is adapted from the 1867 Fowler edition. What elevates this version above all the others is the touching meditations at the beginning of each hour.

“For example, from the hour of Terce: O divine and adorable Lord, Jesus Christ, who has graciously redeemed us by thy bitter passion and death, we offer up this hour of Terce to thy honor and glory, and most humbly beseech thee through the torments thou didst endure in being cruelly scourged at a pillar, crowned with thorns, and unjustly condemned to be crucified, to grant us patience and longanimity under the scourges of temporal afflictions, courage to walk in the thorny road to the narrow gate, which opens to bliss, and perseverance under all the crosses of this life, which are the portion of the elect, that by suffering for our sins we may fully satisfy thy divine justice on earth, and may enter into thy glory immediately after death. Amen.”

Those who love Our Lady will appreciate that these short prayers allow them not only to sanctify the day but to do it using a text that is at reverent and readable; the language exemplifies noble simplicity and unembellished piety, in the most beautiful tradition of good liturgical prayer. It is appropriate both to those who attend the ordinary and extraordinary forms of Catholic Mass. This updated version restores the traditional ordering of the prayers and places it in a user-friendly format that eliminates flipping pages back and forth.

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