Friday, June 17, 2011

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Recently I began praying again The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Baronius Press. I purchased this about a year ago, I think, and was impressed with the quality of the product. It is a very compact, yet elegant prayer book. Having prayed the Liturgy of the Hours at various points over the past 7 years, this little office is in many ways refreshing. This edition is the 1961 edition, which follows the older organization of the hours, before the post-conciliar reforms. Although I am Novus Ordo guy, I must say that over the past week I have been really drawn to praying this office. Perhaps it is the simplicity of this little office or maybe the dual English-Latin prayers on the same page. I also like the almost 1000 year history and tradition that is a part of this office. I am planning to stick with this for the next few months. I have been able to pray most of the hours, except for the matins. Although I am sure there will be some late nights in the future with her, so that might change! ;)

How about you? Anything along with Scripture reading in your daily prayer routine?

(BTW: I do recognize the irony of praying with archaic language coming after the previous post on archaic language in the RSV.)


Theophrastus said...

I enjoyed the Wikipedia article about this liturgy.

Theophrastus said...

Did you see this review on Amazon? Do you agree that Salve Regina in this edition has typographical errors?

Timothy said...


I own the second edition from Baronius, which came out in 2008. I have noticed an occasional typo, but not too many. (Of course there should be none.). As or the Salve Regina, the Latin text, on first glance, looks fine. The only possible difference I have seen is in the Latin for 'exile' which is rendered 'exilium' although I have seen it as 'exsilium' in the past. The English translation ignite Salve Regina is an older one, not the same as the one I memorized as a child.

Diakonos said...

I pray the LOTH daily (Lauds and Vespers)and in the past have prayed the LOBVM. While I enjoyed the beauty of this form of Marian office, I think that the LOTH is better in that it allows for variety in celebration of feasts and saints while still providing this opportunity as Marian feasts come around (or on liturgically free Saturdays). Of course as a "diakonos" I am not free to subsitute the LOBVM for the LOTH but I would nto want to anyway.

Another Marian devotion that forms a significant part of my prayer-life is the Rosary. Whether prayed with a scriptural verse format or not it remains the Gospel in prayer-form and a pre-eminent Marian biblical devotion.

Re: archaic lamguage. I often use my New English Bible for devotional reading and I like the way it combines contemporary language with the archaic (when referring directing to God). its a real nice mix and you don't overdose on either style. There is still something I like about the archaic when adressing God in prayer which to me seems "normal" and not ancient (though I typically speak to God in everyday lingo in my spontaneous prayers). The Revised English Bible (i.e., NEB revision in 1989) did away with the archaic in the OT and in certain references to God in the NT.

rolf said...

I pray the LOTH in the mornings and evenings. In the mornings I also read the liturgical bible readings for that day. I tried switching over to the Magnificat (which is a good product!), but as for the same reasons as Diakonos stated, I stick with the LOTH because of the variety and the prayers are a little more substantive.

Jonny said...

I do enjoy praying the traditional Catholic prayers in the old English. I have seen the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary”, the Creed, and other common prayers printed in updated English in various prayer books, but in my experience the classic old English is still dominant in the common private and public prayers.

I personally sometimes prefer the old English and many of the traditional word choices of the Douay-Rheims translation in private study and prayer. There is just something about it that feels more formal, more authentic, and more beautiful. I also like how the second person pronouns of the originals are distinguished by the singular “thee,” “thou,” and “thine” and the plural “you,” “ye,” and “yours.” Of course, I also enjoy simply opening that window into the past and getting the nostalgic feeling. I wouldn’t even mind using the Douay-Rheims Bible as my main personal Bible for meditation and study, but there are a couple of compatibility problems that hinder me from doing so. First is the fact that there is a large variation in textual tradition of the Clementine Vulgate and the critical editions of the original languages used by translators today. Second, the proper names in the Douay-Rheims are substantially different most of the time from every other English translation of the Bible, both Catholic and Protestant. Third, there are some old English words and strange syntax that make it less comprehensible. I wish that there was a “new” old English Catholic Bible translated from the critical editions of the original languages, but also showing preference for the traditional word choices of the Douay-Rheims when possible (and perhaps even the RSV as a secondary choice when it is closer to the original languages.) I would update the proper names and the words that have changed in meaning, but keep the old pronouns, verb endings, and the like (and in every instance, not just in the second person.) I would even retain the use of “thine” and “mine” in front of words that start with a vowel as the original Douay-Rheims and the King James do. Also, since the readings at Mass are no longer read side by side with a foreign language, a new Douay-Rheims would not be obliged to compromise style for conformity to the syntax of the translated language as in the older Bibles. If there were such a Bible it could be well utilized in personal devotion as well as new liturgical and prayer books such as the Little Office. At this point in time it seems to me that the RSV-CE 1966 is the closest thing one will ever see to a modern “old English” Catholic Bible that is translated from the original languages.

Sorry to stray off topic in all of this, but I would also like to mention that I like St. Benedict Press’ section of “Favorite Catholic Prayers” in the back of their recent release of the NABRE. Many of the favorite classic Catholic prayers are listed here in their most common developed form and in the old English (except for the substitution of “Spirit” for “Ghost”).

rolf said...

Hey Timothy,
The NABRE is now available for the kindle!

Anonymous said...

How can there be a new order? Novous ord

Spiritual Matters said...


Do you know if the Fr. Agustin Bea's Amplior Edition of the Little Office conforms to Summorum Pontificum & can be considered as 'public prayer' of the Church?