How do you pray the Little Office of the BVM?

Hello all,

I decided to get the Little Office from Baronius Press but I don’t know how to use it. If anybody can explain it to me, I would greatly appreciate it! :slight_smile:

If it’s the blue leather one from FSSP it should not be too difficult.
The schedule is simple. Candlemas was last week.

Matins = Vigil, usually before dawn and then moving into Lauds. You can start the day with Lauds (Morning Prayer in modern books) if you like.
Prime is a prayer between Lauds and Terce. It’s a later addition. I personally don’t use it. Terce should be around 9am, Sext 12pm (noon) and None at 3pm, roughly.
Vespers (Evening Prayer) is at dusk, but you’re free to pray it later.
Compline is the Night Prayer.

Where you see a + you make the sign of the Cross.

You see V and R. That’s because it’s meant to be prayed as a group. The priest might say the V portion and you respond with the R portion. If you’re doing it alone you say both.

At the beginning of each Psalm you use the antiphon. You also make the sign of the Cross with the start of each psalm and finish each with the Gloria and a final antiphon, which should be the same given as in the beginning of the psalm. The antiphons can also be sung/recited in between paragraphs, or groups of paragraphs within the psalm, but this isn’t necessary. This is something you might be more likely to do in a group setting.

There are certain breaks in the various prayers that are seasonal. You just need to be aware of where we are in the calendar.

It’s pretty much in order from there on out. There’s not a lot of page flipping in this book.

I hope that helps. Peace.

This site may help. Just click on Parvum BVM

The second box from the left will allow you to select the version of the Little Office. I have not held a copy of the Baronius, but going by their description on their site, I’d guess it is the Rubrics 1960 version.

I am part of the Brown Scapular and have been doing daily Rosary as my Priest allows but I want to do the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I bought a book called “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” published by “Catholic Book Publishing Company” and don’t fully understand the “Office of readings”

Am I supposed to start with one at random and then continue in order from there? It does not say! and I see the Morning Prayers (Lauds) and Evening Prayers (Vesper) and it says that in the order of the Hours is the
Sext or Daytime Prayers and the Compline (Night Prayers) But I can’t find anywhere in the book what the heck the Sext and Compline parts are and you add in the fact it don’t tell you what Order of Readings and I am just Confused.

Hope Someone Can Help… I thought the book would be self explanitory but it isn’t and I need some Help. Didnt mean to tack on another Question to the OP’s but it would really help.

God Bless


You got it at a good time (in terms of the easiness of it to figure out); for now you’ll only have to use the first third of the book. Ignore “Office 2” and “Office 3” until Advent.

Unless you are a full time monk, praying the whole thing every day is hard. You have to wake up early (around 5:30) and pray Matins, then Lauds/Prime (Prime is only an extension of Lauds); then pray an office every three hours until you’re done.

I think I see the problem. You have a different Little Office than the one mentioned by the OP . The one you have should be from 1988. This book is intended to be more free with the prayer times. The Office of the Readings is Matins, but in the newer order it can be recited at any time. If you’re interested in a greater selection of Patristic writings you can find them for each day at Universalis. The Patristic writings there would be the same as if you were praying the full LOTH.

The 1988 book focuses mainly on Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. The other times are given lesser roles. The daytime prayers are pretty much the same each day. As you follow the Daytime Prayer you pick the hymn, antiphon and readings for the time of day. Terce, Sext and None become Mid-morning, Midday and Midafternoon respectively. The point is that these times are not written in stone. You can also choose for antiphons the bible verse that appears before each psalm. They may have minimalized that Daytime Prayer section anticipating that very few people would make use of it.

Night prayer is the same every night. There is a selection of 3 prayers for the penitential rite. The rest should be the same. This isn’t much different than Christian Prayer in that sense. It always ends with a prayer or hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Also. If you discover in the course of several months that you’re finding it dry to repeat this same Office over and over you are not limited to just the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can also pray the fuller LOTH or Divine Office. Any approved Office should satisfactorily fulfill this requirement.

To open with MP you can make the Sign of the Cross (+) and pray
O Lord + open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

later hours =
God + come to my assistance
Lord + make haste to help me

after each you pray the Glory Be.

At each psalm and the Canticle of Zechariah and the Canticle of Mary and all such psalms and canticles you recite the Antiphon
then you begin the psalm. At the beginning of each psalm you make the +. At the end you finish with the Glory Be and repeat the Antiphon one last time. Traditionally there is a profound bow at the Glory Be.
Then you reflect. Then you move on.

The Bible and Patristic readings need not be read aloud if you’re alone.

You will see some options for the antiphons. You can choose either. You can even use the Bible verse at the beginning of each psalm for an antiphon if you get tired of the other options. .

As JuanCarlos pointed out these prayers were originally intended for monastic life and the average work a day Catholic family person is going to struggle to fit them all into his or her daily routine. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it’s not easy for everyone, which is why they put the main focus on the Morning and Evening Prayers.

You can start at any time. If you miss an hour, don’t beat yourself up and don’t try to catch up. The nature of this prayer is that it’s the official prayer of the Church and the life of the Church continues.

We’re all a part of it.

I hope that helped.

1 Like

Thank you all for your responses! They have helped me greatly.