How to pray the Little Office of the BVM correctly?


I have several questions about how to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

First, for the Scapular requirement, what should I pray daily? Should I pray just the Morning and Evening Prayer, or also the Office of Readings and the Compline? Also,which text should be repeated and what should i do if i do not know the melody to the Hymn? Can I pray this silently? Does it start with the Sign of the Cross even though it is not listed? Can I pray the Evening Prayer after midnight when the next day begins, or must I pray it before this time to have fulfilled the day’s requirement?

Thanks and God Bless!


I have the Baronius Press Little Office. I typically pray 2-3 hours (Lauds, Vespers, and Compline). I think it is better to pray 1-2 well than rushing to squeeze them all in. I would like to pray Matins with Lauds, but get up at 4:45 as it is and go to daily Mass too, then work, etc. Before I got the Baronius Press edition I used the LOBVM app on my phone (which is similar to the one you have linked) and that had morning and evening prayers. Here is a link you should check out. Lots of info on the Little Office.


Thank you!


Another quick question…

Is it a sin if i Prayed the Little Office Hours not from the heart, but just kind of said them? Also, must i Pray all the Hours to fulfill the requirement for wearing a Scapular? I have not been invested so have not asked a Priest for permission to pray the Most Holy Rosary as a substitute.


I can’t find anything that says what the requirement is other than to pray the Little Office. Since there are some versions that just seem to have a morning and evening prayer I would think that would suffice, but maybe someone else can answer the question better.

On the website link I posted there is a link on the left side of the page where you can contact them. They could probably give you some more info. If you find out more please post as I would be interested in the answer as well.

I would suggest starting with an hour that is short (such as Prime or Compline) and take the time to pray slowly and thoughtfully. As you do this it may help you to pray more from the heart as you recite the prayers. Psalms (which comprise much of the Little Office) are very emotional. Try to reflect on what is going on in your life and use that emotion when praying the Psalms. This was suggested to me by a priest and I find it helps. I’m not sure if that is what you are looking for, but I hope that helps a little.


[quote="sowinskija, post:4, topic:310468"]
Another quick question...

Is it a sin if i Prayed the Little Office Hours not from the heart, but just kind of said them? Also, must i Pray all the Hours to fulfill the requirement for wearing a Scapular? I have not been invested so have not asked a Priest for permission to pray the Most Holy Rosary as a substitute.


You may want to ask the priest to invest you in the Scapular using the proper Rite from the Book of Blessings :) Usually these ceremonies are held on July 16, but I understand a priest can do it privately (not that I've ever asked, though).

The Rosary is a private prayer, while the Liturgy of the Hours (and, I believe, the Little Office) is a public prayer:

The classification of private and public prayer is made to denote distinction between the prayer of the individual, whether in or out of the presence of others, for his or for others needs, and all prayer offered officially or liturgically whether in public or in secret ...] All the liturgical prayers of the Church are public ...] Special times are appointed for them: the hours for the various parts of the daily Office ...]

So one can pray the Rosary at any time, but the Office at given times.

As for the Little Office, as it is the case for the Liturgy of the Hours (previously Divine Office) lay faithful pray it according to their state of life - that is, if you are busy at noon, you won't pray the Midday Daytime Prayer, and nothing happens, but if you have some time at 3 pm you may pray the Midafternoon Daytime Prayer, etc. In short, sanctify the hours according to your state of life, making sure you don't place devotion over duty :) We are following the ways of Our Lady, who did everything right, and she would not leave an important task or duty aside to pray, but, rather, turn that very work into a prayer :)

All prayer must come from the heart. Prayer itself is a supernatural act. If you are just reading the words, that is not called praying. It is as if I approach you, take out a piece of paper, and start reading off "how have you been, I am glad to see you" etc. instead of smiling and talking to you.

That's the secret of devout prayer: find God in His favorite dwelling place, that is, within your heart, by becoming recollected. Then you will acknowledge the presence of God (a motion of the soul that echoes Jacob's words, "Truly, God was in this place, and I did not know!") and the seraphic fire of love will be kindled in your heart. At this very moment you will be aware that He is looking at you, that He is well pleased and happy that you are about to talk to Him, because He truly loves you...and then it will be most spontaneous for the soul to react like the Bride of the Canticle of Canticles:

I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go ...]
I belong to my Beloved
and He belongs to me!

Then, if your heart is not caught in contemplation, you may pray :) I am sure it will be very difficult to just say the words...even the commas and pauses will come from the depths of the heart!


Thanks you all and God Bless us on this beautiful Sunday!


You would be amazed by “just reading” the prayers. Even if you did that you will be in prayer. A lot of times when I say the rosary my mind drifts off on topics of faith, family, friends, what I am doing today, etc. I think all of that is the spirit speaking to you and helping you to pray for those wanderings. So, even though you are “just reading” i think you will still be amazed by what experience.


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