The Little Office Of Our Lady – At Prime, pt 1. By E. L. Taunton.




Remember, O Creator Lord, That in the Virgin's sacred womb Thou wast conceived, and of her flesh Didst our mortality assume. Mother of grace! 0 Mary blest! To thee, sweet fount of love, we fly; Shield us through life and take us home To thy dear bosom when we die.

0 Jesus, born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to Thee,' Praise to the Father Infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

The Hymn, a continuation of the preceding, is so direct and simple that it needs but little comment. It is used at all the Little Hours and at Compline as well. The second verse is the same idea as the latter part of the " Hail Mary"; and, repeated so many times in the day, it will serve to remind us that the enemy is always persevering, death is always at hand ; but, as surely, Mary, the Mother of Grace, is always nigh to her children.


This is taken from the first Antiphon at Lauds and varies according to the season. For its explanation see under Lauds.


Title. —(1) Unto the end, in verses, understanding for David. (2) When the men of Ziph had come and said to Saul : Is not David hidden with us? [I Kings xxiii. 19. St. Augustine commenting on this title says: Saul, the persecutor of David, is a type of Satan ; David, hiding in the village of Ziph, is a
type of Christ. The Ziphites, who betrayed him, and whose name signifies "men
flourishing," signify the false friends of Christ and His cause.].

Tomasi : That Christ, ascending the heavens, looked upon His enemies with adverse face. The voice of one praying to Christ. The voice of Christ praying to His Father in every trouble. The Prophet concerning him who suffers persecutions for the name of the Lord.

Venerable Bede: David, when beset with trouble, but unexpectedly set free, understood what should happen to the Church of Christ, whereof he himself was a member. The occasion of the Psalm was when the Ziphites came to Saul in Gibeah, saying : Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon ? The Prophet, freed from the perils of Saul, thanks the Lord, throughout the Psalm, that the treason of the Ziphites had not been able to hurt him.

(1) Save me, O God, for Thy Name's sake : and in Thy strength judge Thou me.

That Name —the Name of Jesus Who shall save His people from their sins [Matt. i. 21.].

Judge me when Thou, Who earnest before in poverty, comest again in majesty to the Doom, and burning up the chaff, bring me as wheat into Thy garner. Thus St. Augustine.

In Thy strength. Of all strength love is the strongest: Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it [Cant. viii. 7.]. And what is that strength ? asked Hugh of St. Victor. It is nothing else but the weakness of the Gospel, where defeat is victory, where shame is glory, where reprobation is crowning, where death is life. Again, in Thy strength, that is, the Holy Ghost, Who is the strength of the Most High and Who rules us by the Law of Liberty, thus giving us strength over the enemies who seek to enslave us. St. Bruno points out that, taking the whole Psalm of our Lord Himself, we may see here His prayer for His Resurrection; and the clear warning to the Jews of their peril. And that for Thy Name's sake, for, I seek not Mine Own glory [John viii. 50.].

(2) O God, hear my prayer: and hearken unto the words of my mouth.

(3) For strangers have risen up against me, and tyrants have sought my life: and they have not set God before their eyes.

It is well said, remarks the Carthusian, Hear my prayer, and then hearken. Hear, the weaker word; but hearken, that is to say, according to the exact words, perceive with the ears, or, in other words, hear, in the sense of listening to, so as to grant the words of my mouth. My Mouth, indeed, my Mediator, my Advocate, hearken unto the words of the Word ; to the words of Him, the true Aaron of Whom Thou hast said : Is not Aaron thy Brother? I know that He can speak well [Exod. iv. 14.].

For strangers. The Ziphites were of David's own kinsmen and dependants ; and yet they sought to betray him ; even as the Jews did to our Lord, their King, giving Him over to Pilate and Herod. In the mystical sense, Strangers ; my own rebellious will and passion, have risen up against me, as in a civil war in domestic rebellion. And tyrants, as being all the servants of that one tyrant; the tyrant in opposition to the King; the rebellious chief of Babylon in contradistinction to the peaceful monarch in Jerusalem. Thus St. Bruno of Aste, and St. Bonaventure.

(4) Behold, for God is my helper: and the Lord is the upholder of my soul.

How shall we take this ? With St. Gregory the Great, of the Synagogue looking and longing for the Messias ? or of our Lord Himself relying on the love of the Father, as with that thought of the twelve legions of Angels [Matt. xxvi. 53.] ; as with that declaration : I know Thou hearest Me always [John xi. 42.] ? Or lastly, shall we take it of the Church, knowing that as the Father was the Helper of Christ, so that Father and that Christ will be her aid and, against whatever enemies, will uphold her soul ?

(5) Turn back evil on mine enemies: and in Thy truth scatter them.

Mine enemies, the devils, are confirmed in wickedness; and the evil they plan against God's servants recoil upon themselves.

In Thy truth. Our sole hope of victory lies in the promise of grace when we call upon God. Relying on this promise we resist the devil, and he flees from us [James iv. 7.] ; and we find in the hour of temptation that the Divine Word is ever faithful: The God of all grace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly [Rom. xvi. 20.].

(6) Right willingly will I sacrifice to Thee, and praise Thy Name, O Lord! because it is good.

These words refer to the freewill offering of Christ Himself upon the Cross; and to that which is continually being presented by Him, our Great High Priest, in the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass. Again, this verse, coming as it does in the Morning Office, reminds us of the Mass we are so soon to assist at. We must join willingly in that Sacrifice if we would profit by it. For it is good. What ? The Name of the Lord, or that which we are going to offer ? In the latter sense our offering is indeed good; for it is nothing else but the Body and Blood of the God-Man, a better gift than which cannot be found. It is simply good. The verse also reminds us of our own freewill consecration to God when we made, to the praise of His Name, the sacrifice of our persons, our wealth, and our wills in the clean oblation of religion. And how good it is ! For day by day our Vocation grows dearer as we grow more and more in intimacy with the Spouse of our soul; and we taste and see how good He is. The Sacrifice we made to follow His Call is so small beside the gain, that we should do it over and over again, counting all things loss if we can gain Christ [Phil. iii. 7.].

(7) For Thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eyes hath looked down upon all mine enemies.

Says the Carthusian : Let us in conclusion hear our Lord speak in His Own Person : Thou hast delivered Me, indeed, from the false witnesses that agree not together ; Thou hast delivered Me from Annas, from Caiaphas, from Herod, from Pontius Pilate; Thou hast delivered Me from the Scourging, from the Crowning, the Shame, and from the Crucifixion. But we must mark the deliverance came not as man could wish or imagine, but by that higher way which is the work of God's right hand.

Mine eye hath looked down upon mine enemies, gazing at them calmly and undismayed; as a conqueror, says Bellarmine, surveys the bodies of his enemies on the battle-field, or a king from his throne looks on the captives brought to his feet. And in this latter sense the word suggests the crowning glory of the Ascension : Thou hast led captivity captive [Eph. iv. 8.],


Glory to the Father Who is our Helper ; and to the Son for Whose Name's sake we are saved ; and to the Holy Ghost in Whose strength we are judged.

From - The Little Office of Our Lady; a treatise theoretical, practical, and exegetical - Taunton, Ethelred L. (Ethelred Luke), 1857-1907