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Hello all,

I did a search but it was quite overwhelming! I have a quick question. How does the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary differ from the Roman Breviary or a Monastic Diurnal?

Let me focus a bit more. Besides being shorter, how do the Psalms and cycle compare? Does it still cover all 150 psalms? I know it is missing martyrology, collects (I think?), and probably some readings or prayers, but does it still hit all of the Psalms? And if so, it appears that the Psalms differ in the cycle between the Little Office and the Breviary. Is that correct?

Thank you for the help...discerning which one is best for me. I think I know the answer, so this is more just facts. Thank you again!
(09-01-2016, 08:35 PM)Tenmaru Wrote: [ -> ]Hello all,

I did a search but it was quite overwhelming! I have a quick question. How does the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary differ from the Roman Breviary or a Monastic Diurnal?

Let me focus a bit more. Besides being shorter, how do the Psalms and cycle compare? Does it still cover all 150 psalms? I know it is missing martyrology, collects (I think?), and probably some readings or prayers, but does it still hit all of the Psalms? And if so, it appears that the Psalms differ in the cycle between the Little Office and the Breviary. Is that correct?

Thank you for the help...discerning which one is best for me. I think I know the answer, so this is more just facts. Thank you again!

The Little Office has the same Psalms every day, except at Matins, where only three of the nine are said depending on the day of the week. There are some variations in it in Advent, the Christmas season (until the Purification), and Eastertide, but the Psalms are the same as at other times.
It's been a while since I looked at the Little Office, but it's pretty much a shortened version of the Office on a Marian feast (for example, go to the Divine Office on December 8) every day. As said in the post above me, there are different readings, prayers, and such depending on the season of the year and day of the week for Matins, but otherwise it doesn't really change day to day. It's nice to pray if you don't have time for the full Office. In the past there were many religious who were able to satisfy their requirement to pray the Office through the Little Office.
Just to piggy back on what has already been said, only the Breviary would have all 150 psalms, the Little Office being the same each day and the Diurnal not having Matins. Me, personally, if I have the money, I would get the Breviary. You may never actually end up saying the full Office, but it's already there if you do so you don't need to buy new books. Plus you only have to carry around one volume at a time, so it's not burdensome. I also get tired of the amount of repetition in the Little Office, but YMMV. For that reason, if money is a big factor, I would go with the Diurnal. Matins is probably the last hour you should attempt when working towards the full Office anyway; you can read the saints' legends online in the meantime.

The big caveat there is I am not sure how easy it would be to attain a Matins book if you decided you did want Matins; I'm not sure if there are any in print or reasonably attainable. I know there is a Western Rite Orthodox publisher who has republished an English-only version of Monastic Matins, which would not be the same psalm scheme as the Roman Office, but would have similar readings.
(09-02-2016, 11:49 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]Just to piggy back on what has already been said, only the Breviary would have all 150 psalms, the Little Office being the same each day and the Diurnal not having Matins. Me, personally, if I have the money, I would get the Breviary. You may never actually end up saying the full Office, but it's already there if you do so you don't need to buy new books. Plus you only have to carry around one volume at a time, so it's not burdensome. I also get tired of the amount of repetition in the Little Office, but YMMV. For that reason, if money is a big factor, I would go with the Diurnal. Matins is probably the last hour you should attempt when working towards the full Office anyway; you can read the saints' legends online in the meantime.

The big caveat there is I am not sure how easy it would be to attain a Matins book if you decided you did want Matins; I'm not sure if there are any in print or reasonably attainable. I know there is a Western Rite Orthodox publisher who has republished an English-only version of Monastic Matins, which would not be the same psalm scheme as the Roman Office, but would have similar readings.


You make some excellent points there. I too would tire of the repetition of the Little Office, although it's not a bad place to get ones feet wet so to speak. The rubrics are simple and there's enough there to help you get used to the repetition and discipline required to pray the office.

For what it's worth I'd reccommend the Farnborough Abbey Monastic Diurnal for many readons:

1. You can learn it at the SaintsShallArise website.
2. You can chant the psalms along with the Norcia and La Barroux Monks since they basically use the same translaion ( Latin Vulgate)
3. It's rich enough to give you a lot of spiritual depth before you want to tackle Matins.

Also ,as Aquinas has said there really isn't an English Matins outside the LAP version he mentioned. It's complex enough where it's best not to start with it.