Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Morning | Evening


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.

By Your own choice, O Christ our God, You were lifted on the cross. Grant Your mercies to Your new community that bears Your name. By Your power gladden the faithful people and grant them victory against enemies. May they have the help of Your instrument of peace, the invincible sign of victory.

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.

Virgin of virgins, I choose you today as my sovereign, my queen, my empress, and I declare myself, as I am in fact, your servant and your slave. I invoke your royal name of Mary, that is, sovereign Lady, and beg of you with all my heart to admit me into the privileged circle of your family as one of your servants, to do your will as a humble slave and a loving child. As a sign of your acceptance engrave on my heart with the fire of your love, not the brand of an unwilling slave, but those two gracious words of the angel: AVE MARIA. As long as I draw breath may your burning love ensure that I bear these words in my heart and in my memory, and that until my dying breath my will may be always on fire with my great desire to serve you, my sovereign and my queen, glorious in your majesty. Though I am in every way unworthy of so honorable a title, I resolve sincerely to be your slave, to serve you wholeheartedly, to protect your name, and that of your Son, against every insult, as far as it may rest with me, and never to allow anyone in my charge to offend your Son in any way. By your tender love for your Son, by the glories you have received from the Most Holy Trinity, do not reject me from your service but as my sovereign and my queen preside over all my actions, command whatever you will, direct all my work, remedy all its defects. During my whole life rule over me as your servant and slave. At the hour of my death, as I hope for at the end of my loving servitude among the privileged members of your family, receive my soul and escort it into the presence of God.

My soul clings to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Mother, on the cross Christ entrusted us to you as your children. Today we join with you in praising him.

Be converted therefore, ye sinners, and do justice before God, believing that he will shew his mercy to you. And I and my soul will rejoice in him. Bless ye the Lord, all his elect, keep days of joy, and give glory to him. Jerusalem, city of God, the Lord hath chastised thee for the works of thy hands. Give glory to the Lord for thy good things, and bless the God eternal, that he may rebuild his tabernacle in thee, and may call back all the captives to thee, and thou mayst rejoice for ever and ever. Thou shalt shine with a glorious light: and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee. Nations from afar shall come to thee: and shall bring gifts, and shall adore the Lord in thee, and shall esteem thy land as holy. For they shall call upon the great name in thee. They shall be cursed that shall despise thee: and thy shall be condemned that shall blaspheme thee: and blessed shall they be that shall built thee up. But thou shalt rejoice in thy children, because they shall all be blessed, and shall be gathered together to the Lord. Blessed are all they that love thee, and that rejoice in thy peace. My soul, bless thou the Lord, because the Lord our God hath delivered Jerusalem his city from all her troubles.

The Virgin Mary, crowned with a diadem of twelve stars, is exalted above the choirs of angels.

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion. Because he hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates, he hath blessed thy children within thee. Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat of corn. Who sendeth forth his speech to the earth: his word runneth swiftly. Who giveth snow like wool: scattered mists like ashes. He sendeth his crystal like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold? He shall send out his word, and shall melt them: his wind shall blow, and the waters shall run. Who declareth his word to Jacob: his justices and his judgments to Israel. He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and his judgments he hath not made manifest to them. Alleluia.

I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given me towards you, that I may fulfill the word of God.

Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord: But he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death. Wisdom hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her out seven pillars. She hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table. She hath sent her maids to invite to the tower, and to the walls of the city: Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. And to the unwise she said: Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. Forsake childishness, and live, and walk by the ways of prudence. He that teacheth a scorner, doth an injury to himself: and he that rebuketh a wicked man, getteth himself a blot. Rebuke not a scorner lest he hate thee. Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give an occasion to a wise man, and wisdom shall be added to him. Teach a just man, and he shall make haste to receive it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is prudence. For by me shall thy days be multiplied, and years of life shall be added to thee. If thou be wise, thou shalt be so to thyself: and if a scorner, thou alone shalt bear the evil.

While Mary contemplated all she had come to know through reading, listening and observing, she grew in faith, increased in merits, and was more illuminated by wisdom and more consumed by the fire of charity. The heavenly mysteries were opened to her, and she was filled with joy; she became fruitful by the Spirit, was being directed toward God, and watched over protectively while on earth.

So remarkable are the divine graces that they elevate one from the lowest depths to the highest summit, and transform one to an greater holiness. How entirely blessed was the mind of the Virgin which, through the indwelling and guidance of the Spirit, was always and in every way open to the power of the Word of God. She was not led by her own senses, nor by her own will; thus she accomplished outwardly through her body what wisdom from within gave to her faith.

It was fitting for divine Wisdom, which created itself a home in the Church, to use the intervention of the most blessed Mary in guarding the law, purifying the mind, giving an example of humility and providing a spiritual sacrifice.

Imitate her, O faithful soul. Enter into the deep recesses of your heart so that you may be purified spiritually and cleansed from your sins. God places more value on good will in all we do than on the works themselves.

Therefore, whether we give ourselves to God in the work of contemplation or whether we serve the needs of our neighbor by good works, we accomplish these things because the love of Christ urges us on. The acceptable offering of the spiritual purification is accomplished not in a man-made temple but in the recesses of the heart where the Lord Jesus freely enters.

Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin MaryFrom the sacred wounds of Christ, O Blessed Virgin Mary. 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. Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary.

Rejoice, O sorrowful Mother; after your great sufferings, you shine forth as Queen, enthroned beside your son.

But it behooves us to glory in the Cross of Jesus Christ in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection: by whom we are saved, and delivered. May God have mercy on us and bless us: may He cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us.

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 our 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.

Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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.

O God, Thou art my Protector, and Thy mercy meets me on the way. O God, deliver me from my enemies, and save me from those who attack me.

The Spirit spread his wings over the Virgin's womb. She conceived and gave birth. And she became a virginal mother by great mercy. She conceived and gave birth to a son without pain, and there was a purpose for this. She did not ask for a midwife to aid her, because God saw to her delivery. Like a human being, she gave birth according to the will of God. Manifestly she gave birth. With great power she acquired him. With thanksgiving she loved him. With kindness she guarded him. With grandeur she manifested him. Alleluia!

Through his cross, Christ our peace has reconciled us to God.

I will extol thee, O God my king: and I will bless thy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee: and I will praise thy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: and of his greatness there is no end. Generation and generation shall praise thy works: and they shall declare thy power. They shall speak of the magnificence of the glory of thy holiness: and shall tell thy wondrous works. And they shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and shall declare thy greatness. They shall publish the memory of the abundance of thy sweetness: and shall rejoice in thy justice. The Lord is gracious and merciful: patient and plenteous in mercy. The Lord is sweet to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Let all thy works, O Lord, praise thee: and let thy saints bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom: and shall tell of thy power: To Make thy might known to the sons of men: and the glory of the magnificence of thy kingdom. Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages: and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

His mother stood beside the cross.

The Lord is faithful in all his words: and holy in all his works. The Lord lifteth up all that fall: and setteth up all that are cast down. The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord: and thou givest them meat in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest with blessing every living creature. The Lord is just in all his ways: and holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him: to all that call upon him in truth. He will do the will of them that fear him: and he will hear their prayer, and save them. The Lord keepeth all them that love him; but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever.

In Christ we have redemption through his blood.

Great and wonderful are thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O King of ages. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and magnify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come, and shall adore in thy sight, because thy judgments are manifest.

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory. A faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign.

I was exceeding glad, that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing a new commandment to thee, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is charity, that we walk according to his commandment. For this is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same: For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a seducer and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward. Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine the same hath both the Father and the Son. If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. For he that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works. Having more things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink: for I hope that I shall be with you, and speak face to face: that your joy may be full. The children of the sister Elect salute thee.

The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord's passion. The holy man said of the infant Jesus: HE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS A SIGN WHICH WILL BE CONTRADICTED. He went on to say to Mary: AND YOUR OWN HEART WILL BE PIERCED BY A SWORD.

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through you heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus--who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours--gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore upon his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Or were those words: WOMAN, BEHOLD YOUR SON, not more than a sword to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the Son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: "Had she not known before that he would die?" Undoubtedly. "Did she not expect him to rise again at once?" Surely. "And still she grieved over her crucified Son?" Intensely.

Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary's Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He dies in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

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 Jesus saw his mother standing beside the cross with the disciple whom he loved, he said to her: Woman, behold your son. Then he said to the disciple: Behold your mother.

O Mary, I already know that thou art the most noble, the most sublime, the most pure, the most beautiful, the most benign, the most holy--in a word, the most amiable of all creatures. O that all knew thee, my Lady, and loved thee as thou does merit! But I am consoled when I remember that in heaven and on earth there are so many happy souls who live enamoured of thy goodness and beauty. Above all, I rejoice that God himself loves thee alone more than he loves all men and angels together. My most amiable Queen, I, a miserable sinner, love thee also; but I love thee too little. I desire a greater and more tender love towards thee; and this thou must obtain for me, since to love thee is a great mark of predestination, and a grace which God only grants to those whom he will save.

I see also, my Mother, that I am indeed under great obligations to thy Son. I see that he merits infinte love. Thou, who desirest nothing else but to see him loved, hast to obtain me this grace above all others; obtain me great love for Jesus Christ. Thou obtainest all that thou willest from God; ah, then, be graciously pleased to obtain me the grace to be so united to the divine will that I may never more be separated from it. I do not ask of thee earthly goods, honors, or riches. I ask thee for that which thy heart desires most for me. I wish to love my God. Is it possible that thou refusest to second this my desire, which is so pleasing to thee? Ah no, thou already helpest me; already thou prayest for me. Pray, pray, and cease not to pray until thou seest me safe in heaven, beyond the possibility of ever more losing my Lord, and certain to love him forever, together with thee, my dearest Mother.

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 to 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.

Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life, where he 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.

Last Modified 11/23/2001