The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I started praying the Divine Office a while back. As life got busy and since my vocation was not to be a monk I was searching for a more adaptable and manageable prayer routine so I could maintain my devotion to my family and work/life balance. To accomplish this is switched from the Divine Office to the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary after the example of a friend in a similar situation seeking to develop a common prayer life with his girlfriend at the time.

Here are my observations and lessons learnt.

First, I bought a cheaper mass market paperback copy of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the Carmelite Rite (1953 in Latin and English). What I soon found out is that paperbacks are not meant for daily prayer books and the condition of the book soon declined – although it stayed together. Thus, if you are just trying this out like me (and want to save money before buying a leather copy) I would use or print out the The Little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, comformable to the recent pontifical decrees and the Office of the dead in Latin and English available online for free at archive.org by Benzinger Brothers 1915. After you decide this is for you, then go straight to a leather or hard copy of one of several Little Offices available for purchase online.

Second. After praying the Divine Office for 3 years, because of its 4 week cycle and changes throughout the liturgical seasons it gave me a larger exposure to scripture and the psalms but not as much depth and insight into a particular set of psalms as the Little Office of Mary has. The Little Office I now pray uses the same psalms every day all year so I have become deeply familiar with them and they can more easily accompany me throughout the day. Of course, if you were to pray the Divine Office for longer than I did I am sure that this would happen as well. I do recommend finding supplementary hymns for the Little Office (my only had 1 for each major hour) as signing the same hymn every day can get tedious.

Third, the structure is largely the same as the Divine Office so it works just as well to hinge the day with morning and evening prayer.

Fourth, because the prayers remain the same every day (minor changes with liturgical season) I was able to pick up a little more Latin for myself by reading the Latin text in conjunction with the English. (I think the Latin translation of the Carmelite edition I used was good except in a few odd places were it simply failed to include some final phrases of a few psalms)

Overall, I highly recommend giving the Little Office a chance. For me it has been a great way to include a rhythmic/scriptural/liturgical based prayer in my life while maintaining flexibility and availability for my family.

Published by PromoteVaticanII

Protecting, Providing for and Promoting the message of Vatican II

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