Sunday, 14 September 2014

A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer

A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer 2009 Collins

I doubt many lay Catholics will purchase the three volumes that comprise the Divine Office. Even the single volume Morning and Evening is thick enough to be intimidating. Thankfully, a more accesible alternative is available in A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer.

This handy pocket sized volume has an attractive and durable immitation leather cover. It provides daily psalsms, prayers and Bible readings taken from the Liturgy of the Hours. These are set for morning and evening each day and the course for several liturgical years are given. It also includes daily night prayers. There are a lot of response sections, which don't suit private prayer, but one can easily get around these. The Benedictus and the Magnificat are conveniently located at the end of the book where they can easily be located.

Like most Catholic prayer books, the prayers are written in very dull and uninspiring modern Englsh. There is also a lack of theological depth in some of the prayers and a few too many on the subject of peace and justice for my taste (I'm a militaristic Tory, you can't expect me to relish peace and justice!). As a King James Bible Protestant turning Douay-Rheims Bible Catholic, I find it painful reading the passages taken from modern versions. Several Bible translations are used including the Knox Bible (I don't mind that one), the New English Bible (a liberal bastardised Bible), the Revised Standard Version (liberal but familiar) and Today's English Version (a printed abomination).

There is not a huge amount of Marian devotion in this prayer book. I was surprised to find that the Hail Mary was not part of morning and evening prayer. I say it anyway, as I do when I use the Book of Common Prayer. It does, however, include an optional Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which I say every Saturday. The night prayers also include a great set of Marian anthems.

I don't sing the hymns, simply because I don't know most of them. I do know Abide with Me (the one from Doctor Who!) snd The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended. I'm so glad Catholics sing The Day Thou Gavest, as it is my favorite hymn. Sadly, I have not heard it sung at my parish so far.

I don't tend to use the morning and evening prayers here so often, as they are not really to my taste. I like the night prayers that are included here though and often use it when I say night prayer.

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