Friday, October 8, 2010

Little Office of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Today we begin to wrap up our series on the Little Offices. The Little Office of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ was approved by the S.C.R in 1921. It was subsequently indulgenced. Some changes were made to the rubrics in 1932.

Throughout history, there had been a number of Little Offices of the Passion. One was even composed by St. Francis of Assisi. The one which was indulgenced, however, is a fuller Office. It was composed by the Passionist Fr. Aloysius of St. Charles, in order to fulfill the requirements of litugical law while allowing for a shorter Office for missionaries and retreat masters.

I will admit that I had great trouble locating this prayer, and making sure that I had the prayer which was explicitly indulgenced. The front matter of the 1953 edition of the Little Office of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the Confraternity of the Passion confirms that it is the indulgenced version. I suppose it is possible that the text was changed since 1948 (the time of the last revision, apparently). If anyone is aware of such a change to this Little Office, I would be grateful to know of it.

In order to give a sense of how the text is presented, it seems best to quote from the front matter of the 1953 edition:

The Hours of this Little Office follow Christ in His Passion and commemorate His different sufferings. At matins and Lauds the Passion Office commemorates the prayer and bloody sweat of Jesus in the Garden. In monasteries these two hours are said in the middle of the night. Prime and Tierce, the morning prayers of the Church, recall the scourging and crowning with throns. Sext and None are said during hte day and honor Jesus carrying His Cross and being crucified. The evning prayer, Vespers, recalls Jesus' last words and death. Finally the Church's night prayer, Compline, commemorates Jesus taken down from the Cross and laid in the tomb (p. 7).

So that anyone might not be confused which Little Office of the Passion is enriched with the partial indulgence, I thought it would be good to provide the psalms listed in each hour. Numbers correspond to the Vulgate numbering for the Psalms:

  • Matins: 94; Noct. 1 (Sun., Mon., Thurs.) 2, 3, 12; Noct. 2 (Tues., Fri.) 21 i, 21ii, 21iii; Noct. 3 (Wed., Sat.) 24i, 24ii, 24iii.

  • Lauds: 50, 5, 66, Is. 12:1-6, 145.

  • Prime: 34i, 34ii, 34iii.

  • Terce: 37i, 37ii, 42.

  • Sext: 53, 54i, 54ii.

  • None: 68i, 68ii, 68iii.

  • Vespers: 114, 119, 139, 140, 141.

  • Compline: 19, 63, 142.

I heartily recommend the use of this prayer. It would be best used on any Friday, and any day during Lent (especially during the last two weeks, traditionally called Passiontide, which includes Holy Week).

If anyone would be able to tell me whether I would be able to post this text without infringing copyright, I would be greatly appreciative! It has been approved for use of the whole Church, and rightly belongs to the whole Church. I hope that we all may be able to make use of it.


    1. I found this on line:

      Most books will become public domain about seventy years after they are published. Currently, any works published before 1923 are automatically public domain. From 1923 to 1963, the laws allowed owners to hold the copyright for 28 years. If the copyright was not renewed, the book became public domain. If it was, it was protected for a further 95 years.

      I would suggest that you contact the Confraternity of the Passion at, and ask them about copyright on this. They may have copies of this available. Or, if not, they could give permission to post the prayers.

      God guide and bless you!

    2. The Little Office of the Passion is for sale here:

      I know the seller is not you but...
      Produce more to earn more hehehe...