Praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Today
Today, the Liturgy of the Hours, like the Missal, is standardized across the Roman Rite. The Little Office of Our Lady is no longer included or prescribed, except among some women’s congregations and secular orders. But it has never been prohibited, and many are finding in this centuries-old prayer tradition a new way to walk through the days with Mary and her Son. The pre-Vatican II Little Office, which—like the Roman Breviary and the Latin Mass, was never suppressed and is permitted for use by certain groups under Summorum Pontificum—has been published in several new editions, one from Baronius Press even including the chant settings as used by the Brigettines.
I like using a version for individual use revised to align with the Liturgy of the Hours by William G. Storey, Professor Emeritus of Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. Included in a lovely volume from Loyola Press called A Book of Marian Prayers, this version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary provides psalms, readings and prayers for Morning and Evening Prayer during the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Assumptiontide (corresponding to Ordinary Time in the Church Year), as well as propers for the Marian feasts throughout the year. I intend to use the Little Office on Saturdays and Mary’s feast days from now on. If you want to join me, you can also find a modern version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin online here at the University of Dayton’s Marian Library.
Quoting from an entry in the Dictionary of Mary by A. Buono, the Marian Library gives best reason of all to revive this ancient prayer:
“The Little Office is a way of living – in praise and reflection – the principal moments of each day with Mary, who spent her life alongside her Son in ardent love, in joyous praise, and in deep faith.”