The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Hours of the Virgin, is a liturgical devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in imitation of, and usually in addition to, the Divine Office in the Catholic Church. It is a cycle of psalms, hymns, scripture and other readings.
All of the daily variation occurs in Matins. The text of the other offices remains the same from day to day in the Roman rite and most other rites. In the Roman rite there are seasonal variations in Advent and Christmastide. The Gospel antiphons also change in Eastertide, although there are no other changes during that season. The Little Office was a core text of the medieval book of hours.
The Little Office probably originated as a monastic devotion around the middle of the eighth century. Peter the Deacon reports that at the Benedictine Monastery of Monte Cassino there was, in addition to the Divine Office, another office "which it is customary to perform in honour of the Holy Mother of God, which Zachary the Pope commanded under strict precept to the Cassinese Monastery."
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a variation of the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office). It may have originally been put together to be prayed in connection with the Votive Masses of Our Lady on Saturday, which were written by Alcuin, the liturgical master of Charlemagne’s court.
The Little Office did not come into general use before the tenth century. Peter Damian states that it was already commonly recited amongst the secular clergy of Italy and France, and through his influence the practice of reciting it in choir after the Monastic Office, was introduced into several Italian houses. In the eleventh century there were at least two versions the Little Office extant in England. Pre-English Reformation versions varied considerably, and in England in medieval times the main differences were between the Sarum and York uses.Several early printed versions of the English uses of the Little Office survive in the Primers.
In the twelfth century, the new foundation of the Augustinian Canons of Prémontré prescribed the Little Office in addition to the eight hours of the Divine Office. The Austin Canons also used it, and, perhaps through their influence, it developed from a private devotion into part of the daily duty of the secular clergy as well in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. By the fourteenth century the Little Office was obligatory for all the clergy. This obligation remained until St. Pius V changed it in 1568.The Little Office varied in different communities and locations, but was standardized by Pius V in 1585. It became part of the Books of Hours in Mary’s honour and was used by many lay people. Beautifully decorated Books of Hours were the pride of many a noble. Women’s congregations and Third Orders often made it mandatory for their members to pray the Little Office.
Down to the Reformation it formed a central part of the "Primer" and was customarily recited by the devout laity,by whom the practice was continued for long afterwards among the persecuted Catholics. After the revision of the Breviary following the Council of Trent in 1545, the Little Office of our Lady became of obligation only on Saturdays but with the exception of Ember Saturdays, vigils, and the Saturdays of Lent.
An English-only version appears appended to versions of Bishop Richard Challoner's 'Garden of the Soul' in the eighteenth century, and with the restoration of the hierarchy in the 1860s, James Burns issued a Latin and English edition.
Minor revisions of the Office occurred in the twentieth century, most notably in 1910, as part of Pope Pius X's liturgical reforms, when the Little Office was suppressed as an epilogue of the Divine Office.In accordance with Pius X's apostolic constitution Divino afflatu of 1910, the Psalter of both the Breviary and the Little Office was rearranged, producing a different distribution of psalms to be recited at the Little Office than in pre-1910 editions.
In 1963, following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI promulgated Sacrosanctum Concilium which stated: "Members of any institute dedicated to acquiring perfection who, according to their constitutions, are to recite any parts of the divine office are thereby performing the public prayer of the Church. They too perform the public prayer of the Church who, in virtue of their constitutions, recite any short office, provided this is drawn up after the pattern of the divine office and is duly approved."
However, in the subsequent reforms following the Second Vatican Council, the Little Office was overshadowed by the revised Liturgy of the Hours. The Little Office was not officially revised after the Council, as many Congregations abandoned it in order to adopt the Liturgy of the Hours. According to Pope Paul VI's later Apostolic Letter Ecclesiae sanctae of 6 August 1966, "although Religious who recite a duly approved Little Office perform the public prayer of the Church (cf. Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium , No. 98), it is nevertheless recommended to the institutes that in place of the Little Office they adopt the Divine Office either in part or in whole so that they may participate more intimately in the liturgical life of the Church".
Nonetheless, several post-conciliar editions continue to be issued. The Carmelites produced a revised version of their form of the office, which is still used by some Religious and those who are enrolled in the Brown Scapular. Additionally Tony Horner, a layman, and Father John Rotelle, O.S.A. both formulated their own editions of the Little Office which conformed to the revised Liturgy of the Hours, both of these are approved for private use. These newer versions include vernacular translations from the Latin and follow the new structure of each Hour in the Office. Carthusians continue to recite the Office of the Virgin Mary in addition to the Divine Office.
At the same time, despite its decline among religious orders after the Council, the traditional Little Office in English and Latin continue to be printed. Carmel Books in the United Kingdom and several other publishers issued editions usually containing the text as it was in the 1950s. St. Bonaventure Publications publishes an edition edited by Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance and originally issued in 1904, which gives the office as it was before Pius X's revision of the Psalter. Baronius Press publishes the 1961 text, which is the most recent edition, in a bilingual English and Latin edition, collecting all the Gregorian chant for the office for the first time in a published edition; while Angelus Press, the publishing arm of the Society of Saint Pius X, also publishes an English/Latin edition of the 1961 text; unlike the Baronius edition, this version includes pronunciation marks for the Latin text, as well as Matins, Lauds, and Vespers of the traditional Office of the Dead.
The Roman Breviary is the liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons in the Divine Office.
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963. The main aim was to achieve greater lay participation in the Catholic Church's liturgy. The title is taken from the opening lines of the document and means "this Sacred Council".
The Mass of Paul VI, more commonly called the post-Vatican II Mass, is the most widely used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church. It is known as the ordinary form, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 declaration that "the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy". It is also referred to, especially in Traditionalist circles, as the Novus Ordo.
The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass or Usus Antiquior, is the Roman Rite Mass of the Catholic Church. It appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. Celebrated exclusively in Ecclesiastical Latin, it was the most widely used Eucharistic liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI.
Matins is a canonical hour of Christian liturgy.
Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. Although the term liturgy is used to mean public worship in general, the Byzantine Rite uses the term "Divine Liturgy" to denote the Eucharistic service.
The Nova Vulgata, also called the Neo-Vulgate or New Latin Vulgate, is the official Classical Latin translation of the original-language texts of the Bible from modern critical editions published by the Holy See for use in the contemporary Roman rite. It was completed and promulgated in 1979 by John Paul II. A second, revised, edition was promulgated in 1986, again by John Paul II. It is the official Latin text of the Catholic Church.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
In Christian liturgy, a vigil is, in origin, a religious service held during the night leading to a Sunday or other feastday. The Latin term vigilia, from which the word is derived meant a night watch, not necessarily in a military context, and generally reckoned as a fourth part of the night from sunset to sunrise. The four watches or vigils were of varying length in line with the seasonal variation of the length of the night.
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is a commission set up by a number of episcopal conferences of English-speaking countries for the purpose of providing English translations of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the originals of which are in Latin.
The Dominican Rite is the unique rite of the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been classified differently by different sources – some consider it a usage of the Roman Rite, others a variant of the Gallican Rite, and still others a form of the Roman Rite into which Gallican elements were inserted.
Catholic devotions are particular customs, rituals, and practices of worship of God or honour of the saints which are in addition to the liturgy of the Catholic Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes devotions as "expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Devotions are not considered part of liturgical worship, even if they are performed in a church or led by a priest, but rather they are paraliturgical. The Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican publishes a Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.
The Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X was promulgated by that Pope with the apostolic constitution Divino afflatu of 1 November 1911.
The Roman Martyrology is the official martyrology of the Catholic Church. Its use is obligatory in matters regarding the Roman Rite liturgy, but dioceses, countries and religious institutes may add duly approved appendices to it. It provides an extensive but not exhaustive list of the saints recognized by the Church.
Popular piety is a notion defined in the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
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The liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII continued a process initiated by Pope Pius X, who began the process of encouraging the faithful to a meaningful participation in the liturgy. Pope Pius XII redefined liturgy in light of his previous encyclical Mystici corporis and reformed several liturgical practices in light of this teaching. The liturgical teaching of Pius XII is contained especially in his encyclical Mediator Dei of 1947. Although Pius XII felt compelled to reprove the desire for novelty among certain leaders of the Liturgical Movement, the liturgical reforms undertaken later in his pontificate were in fact relatively broad in their scope.
The liturgical books of the Roman Rite are the official books containing the words to be recited and the actions to be performed in the celebration of Catholic liturgy as done in Rome. The Roman Rite of the Latin or Western Church of the Catholic Church is the most widely celebrated of the scores of Catholic liturgical rites. The titles of some of these books contain the adjective "Roman", e.g. the "Roman Missal", to distinguish them from the liturgical books for the other rites of the Church,.
Liber Orationum Psalmographus (LOP), subtitled The Psalter Collects of the Ancient Hispanic Rite– recomposition and critical edition, is a unique edition of 591 so-called prayers on psalms or psalm-prayers rendered from Latin orationes super psalmos or orationes psalmicae respectively. They could be defined as short prayers said optionally at the end of a psalm recitation in some Christian liturgies. LOP was published by Jorge Pinell in 1972 (Barcelona-Madrid) as the 9th volume of Monumenta Hispaniae Sacra. The subject, the editor and the date of its publication were closely related to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and the reform of the Latin liturgy begun then within the Roman Catholic Church. The text of LOP can be considered to be the main content of a still missing fifth volume of the Liturgy of the Hours. It was renewed in 1971 according to that Counci's principles laid in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium. The volume was mentioned in the same year in the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, but for some reason has not been published.