Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
God, come to my assistanceLord, make haste to help me. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victory to Your faithful people against enemies, and protect Your community by Your cross.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words, and mayst overcome when thou art judged. For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee. Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise. For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
Glory to Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
It is truly right to bless you, O God-bearing One, as the ever-blessed and immaculate Mother of our God. More honorable than the cherubim and by far more glorious than the seraphim; ever a virgin, you gave birth to God the Word, O true Mother of God, we magnify you.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
I have sinned without number, forgive me, O Lord.
I bow before you, Virgin of virgins, resting-place of the divine Bridegroom, temple of eternal Wisdom, sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, palace of the Blessed Trinity, Mother full of love and tenderness, fountain of beauty, wellspring of wonders, golden key of God's kingdom, you are the admiration of angels, the joy of the human family. Who can ever do justice to your glory, to your Queenship of grace?
Blessed are you, O virgin Mary, for you carried the Creator of the world in your womb.
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready: I will sing, and will give praise, with my glory. Arise, my glory; arise, psaltry and harp: I will arise in the morning early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: and I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth even unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and thy glory over all the earth: that thy beloved may be delivered. Save with thy right hand and hear me. God hath spoken in his holiness. I will rejoice, and I will divide Sichem and I will mete out the vale of tabernacles. Galaad is mine: and Manasses is mine: and Ephraim the protection of my head. Juda is my king: Moab the pot of my hope. Over Edom I will stretch out my shoe: the aliens are become my friends. Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our armies? O grant us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do mightily: and he will bring our enemies to nothing.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant in her womb leaped for joy, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth her seed to shoot forth: so shall the Lord God make justice to spring forth, and praise before all the nations. For Sion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not rest till her just one come forth as brightness, and her saviour be lighted as a lamp. And the Gentiles shall see thy just one, and all kings thy glorious one: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. And thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be called Desolate: but thou shalt be called My pleasure in her, and thy land inhabited. Because the Lord hath been well pleased with thee: and thy land shall be inhabited. For the young man shall dwell with the virgin, and thy children shall dwell in thee. And the bridegroom shall rejoice over the bride, and thy God shall rejoice over thee.
Blessed are you, Mary, because you believed that the Lord's words to you would be fulfilled.
Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands to fight, and my fingers to war. My mercy, and my refuge: my support, and my deliverer: My protector, and I have hoped in him: who subdueth my people under me. Lord, what is man, that thou art made known to him? or the son of man, that thou makest account of him? Man is like to vanity: his days pass away like a shadow. Lord, bow down thy heavens and descend: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Send forth lightning, and thou shalt scatter them: shoot out thy arrows, and thou shalt trouble them. Put forth thy hand from on high, take me out, and deliver me from many waters: from the hand of strange children: Whose mouth hath spoken vanity: and their right hand is the right hand of iniquity. To thee, O God, I will sing a new canticle: on the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings I will sing praises to thee. Who givest salvation to kings: who hast redeemed thy servant David from the malicious sword: Deliver me, And rescue me out of the hand of strange children; whose mouth hath spoken vanity: and their right hand is the right hand of iniquity: Whose sons are as new plants in their youth: Their daughters decked out, adorned round about after the similitude of a temple: Their storehouses full, flowing out of this into that. Their sheep fruitful in young, abounding in their goings forth: their oxen fat. There is no breach of wall, nor passage, nor crying out in their streets. They have called the people happy, that hath these things: but happy is that people whose God is the Lord.
And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be counfounded for ever. And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit. And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come.
Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land: The fig tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one and come: my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely. Catch us the little foxes that destroy the vines: for our vineyard hath flourished. My beloved to me, and I to him who feedeth among the lilies, Till the day break, and the shadows retire. Return: be like, my beloved, to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
When Elizabeth greeted her young kinswomen coming from Nazareth, MARY REPLIED WITH THE MAGNIFICAT. In her greeting, Elizabeth first called Mary "blessed" because of "The fruit of her womb," and then she called her "blessed" because of her faith. These two blessings referred directly to the Annunciation. Now, at the Visitation, when Elizabeth's greeting bears witness to that culminating moment, Mary's faith acquires a new consciousness and a new expression. That which remained hidden in the depths of the "obedience of faith" at the Annunciation can now be said to spring forth like a clear and life-giving flame of the spirit.
The words used by Mary on the threshold of Elizabeth's house are AN INSPIRED PROFESSION OF HER FAITH, in which HER RESPONSE TO THE REVEALED WORD is expressed with the religious and poetical exultation of her whole being toward God. In these sublime words, which are simultaneously very simple and wholly inspired by the sacred texts of the people of Israel, Mary's personal experience, the ecstasy of her heart, shines forth. In them shines a ray of the mystery of God, the glory of his ineffable holiness, the eternal LOVE WHICH, AS AN IRREVOCABLE GIFT, ENTERS INTO HUMAN HISTORY.
Mary is the fist to share in this new revelation of God and, within the same, in this new "self-giving" of God. Therefore she proclaims: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Her words reflect a joy of spirit which is difficult to express: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Indeed, "the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man is made clear to us in Christ, who is at the same time the mediator and the fullness of all revelation."
In her exultation Mary confesses that she finds herself IN THE VERY HEART OF THIS FULLNESS of Christ. She is conscious that the promise made to the fathers, first of all "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever," is being fulfilled in herself. She is thus aware that concentrated within herself as the Mother of Christ is THE WHOLE SALVIFIC ECONOMY, in which "from age to age" is manifested he who, as the God of the Covenant, "remembers his mercy."
The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginningHe has taken her to live with him, his loved one from the beginning. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, she cried out and said: Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me.
Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable; their power is become very great. Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people: And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant: As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning: Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us: To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament, The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us, That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear, In holiness and justice before him all our days. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways: To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins: Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct out feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Sun of Justice, the immaculate Virgin was the white dawn announcing your rising, grant that we may always live in the light of your coming. Lord, help us imitate Mary, your mother, who chose the best part, may we seek the food that will sustain us for ever. Savior of the world, by your redeeming might you preserved your mother before-hand from all stain of sin, keep watch over us, lest we sin. You are our redeemer, who made the immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, make us temples of your Spirit for ever.
Eternal Father, you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need. Keep us open to the working of your Spirit, and with Mary may we praise you for ever. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
God, come to my assistanceLord, make hast to help me. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
O God, for Thy name's sake save me and by Thy power grant me redress. O God, hear my prayer, and hearken to my plea.
What joy, what happiness there is in heaven! The shoot from the root of Jesse, sown so long ago in the time of the patriarchs, has today sprung up and begun to grow. It will bear a Flower which is destined to heal the world, a Flower whose scent revives the dead, whose taste heals the sick, and whose beauty delights the angels--a white and red Flower which angels long to see.
Look upon Mary, my beloved, how, when Gabriel entered in to her and she spoke with him words of enquiry: "How shall these things be?" and the minister of the Spirit gave reply to Mary and said: "It is easy for God, all things are simple for him"--how she held it true when she heard, and said: "Behold, his handmaid am I."
Therefore he came down, in a manner he knows, he stirred and came in a way that pleased him, he entered and dwelt in her without her perceiving, she received him, suffering nothing. He was in her womb like a babe, yet the whole world was full of him. Of his love he came down to renew the image of Adam grown old.
Mary entered the house of Zechariah, and greeted Elizabeth.
Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me: thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. Thou has understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line thou hast searched out. And thou hast foreseen all my ways: for there is no speech in my tongue. Behold, O Lord, thou has known all things, the last and those of old: thou hast formed me, and hast laid thy hand upon me. Thy knowledge is become wonderful to me: it is high, and I cannot reach to it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy face? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I descend into hell, thou are present. If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me. And I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me: and night shall be my light in my pleasures. But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as the day: the darkness thereof, and the light thereof are alike to thee.
When your greeting sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast protected me from my mother's womb. I will praise thee, for thou art fearfully magnified: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knoweth right well. My bone is not hidden from thee, which thou hast made in secret: and my substance in the lower parts of the earth. Thy eyes did see my imperfect being, and in thy book all shall be written: days shall be formed, and no one in them. But to me thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened. I will number them, and they shall be multiplied above the sand: I rose up and am still with thee. If you wilt kill the wicked, O God: ye men of blood, depart from me: Because you say in thought: They shall receive thy cities in vain. Have I not hated them, O Lord, that hated thee: and pined away because of thy enemies? I have hated them with a perfect hatred: and they are become enemies to me. Prove me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my paths. And see if there be in me the way of iniquity: and lead me in the eternal way.
Sinless Virgin, let us follow joyfully in your footsteps; draw us after you in the fragrance of your holiness.
Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.
Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
MY SOUL DOTH MAGNIFY THE LORD. AND MY SPIRIT HATH REJOICED IN GOD MY SAVIOUR. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God's universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.
When a man devotes all his thought to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God's greatness. His observance of God's commands, moreover, shows that he has God's power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.
These words are often for all God's creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.
BECAUSE HE THAT IS MIGHTY, HATH DONE GREAT THINGS TO ME; AND HOLY IS HIS NAME. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.
She did well to add: AND HOLY IS HIS NAME, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: AND IT WILL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. This is the name she spoke of earlier: AND MY SPIRIT REJOICES IN GOD MY SAVIOR.
Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of the holy Church that we should sing Mary's hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditation upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God's Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day's work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
All generations will call me blessed; the Lord has regarded the humility of his handmaid.
My most beloved Lady, I thank thee for having delivered me from hell as many times as I have deserved it by my sins. Miserable creature that I was, I was once condemend to that prison, and perhaps already after the first sin, the sentence would have been put into execution, if thou, in thy compassion, hadst not helped me. Thou, without even being asked by me, and only in thy goodness, didst restrain divine Justice; and then, conquering my obduracy, thou didst draw me to have confidence in thee. O, into how many other sins should I have afterwards fallen, in the dangers in which I have been, hadst not thou, my loving Mother, preserved me by the graces which thou didst obtain for me! Ah, my Queen, continue to guard me from hell; for what will thy mercy, and the favors which thou hast shown me, avail me if I am lost? If I did not always love thee, now at least--after God--I love thee above all things. Never allow me to turn my back on thee and on God, who, by thy means, has granted me so many graces. My most amiable Lady, never allow me to have the misfortune to hate thee and curse thee for all eternity in hell. Wilt thou endure to see a servant of thine, who loves thee, lost? O Mary, what sayest thou? I shall be lost if I abandon thee. But who can ever more have the heart to leave thee? How can I ever forget the love thou hast borne me? My Lady, since thou hast done so much to save me, complete the work, continue the aid. Wilt thou help me? But what do I say? If at a time when I lived forgetful of thee thou didst favor me so much, how much more may I hope for now that I love thee and recommend myself to thee! No, he can never be lost who recommends himself to thee; he alone is lost who has not recourse to thee. Ay, my Mother, leave me not in my own hands, for I should then be lost; grant that I may always have recourse to thee. Save me, my hope, save me from hell; but, in the first place, save me from sin, which alone can condemn me to it.
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.