Little Office of
Divine Wrath

Introduction

The Little Office of Divine Wrath is a daily devotional office for private recitation, whose origin may be found in—or more accurately, concealed by—the 1971 Liturgia Horarum/Liturgy of the Hours, the product of a radical re-imagining of the Latin Church’s public recitation of the Psalter in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and its demands for liturgical reform.

Arrangement of the Office

The Little Office of Divine Wrath facilitates the daily recitation of psalms partially or fully censored by the editors of the Liturgy of the Hours. There is no provision for extra readings, responsories, or verses—the psalms stand by themselves in their integrity. Those familiar with the Triduum offices of the classical Latin Rite will find a similar simplicity in this Little Office.

Seasons

Three seasonal variations are observed:

  1. Through the Year (Pentecost Monday, Matins—Wednesday of Holy Week, Compline)
  2. Triduum (Holy Thursday, Matins—Holy Saturday, None)
  3. Easter Season (Easter Sunday, Vespers I—Pentecost Sunday, Compline)

For Matins, twelve psalms are recited in directum except during the Easter Season, when the triple Alleluia precedes and follows them. Psalms 1–3 are taken from Sunday Matins, while Psalm 7 contains verses (4–6) that promote the proper interior disposition for the psalms that follow. There is no Invitatory psalm, nor are there readings, responsories, or a Te Deum.

For Lauds, Vespers, and the Little Hours, each psalm or canticle is preceded or followed by its own antiphon from a previously promulgated office. During the Easter Season, antiphons are superseded by a triple Alleluia.

The psalms and canticles of Compline are recited in directum for all three seasons.

The Triduum hours found in the public liturgical books should take precedence over the hours of the Triduum variation of this Little Office; the latter, however, may be prayed in conjunction with the former, or omitted in part or entirely. During the Triduum the minor doxology/Glória Patri is not recited after psalms and canticles.

Psalms

The layout of psalms for the Little Office of Divine Wrath follows, using LXX/Vulgate numbering. Psalms that are partially omitted in the Liturgy of the Hours are followed by an asterisk (*). Psalms that are recited seasonally in the Liturgy of the Hours are followed by a dagger (†). Psalms that are completely omitted from the Liturgy of the Hours are followed by a double dagger (‡).

Matins

1, 2, 3, 7, 20*, 34*, 68*, 77†, 78*, 82‡, 104†, 105†

Lauds

5*, 142*, 62*, Judith 16:15–22, 55*

Prime

39*:2–9, 39*:10–14, 39*:15–18

Terce

53*, 54*:2–16, 54*:17–24

Sext

30*:2–9, 30*:10–19, 30*:20–25

None

108:2–13‡, 108:14–21‡, 108:22–31‡

Vespers

109*, 136*, 138*, 139*, 140*

Compline

57‡, 58*, 27*

Gospel Canticle Antiphons

Through the Year, antiphons for the Benedictus of Lauds and the Magnificat of Vespers are taken from the Twenty-Fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost.

During the Triduum, the Benedictus and Magnificat are prayed in directum.

During the Easter Season, antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat are taken from Friday in the Octave of Easter.

The Nunc Dimittis of Compline is prayed in directum without an antiphon at all times.

Concluding Antiphon and Psalm

The concluding antiphon and psalm follow the practice of the pre-1955 Triduum offices.

Through the Year and during the Triduum, the concluding antiphon Úsquequo is excerpted from a Matins responsory for Passion Sunday. The silent recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the low recitation of Psalm 12 follow.

During the Easter Season the Easter Sunday offertory Terra trémuit is used as the concluding antiphon. The silent recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the low recitation of Psalm 75 follow.

Concluding Prayer

For all variations, the prayer at the conclusion of each hour is taken from the Triduum.

Further Reading

Other Little Offices

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary Little Office of the Sacred Heart

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