Saturday, 11 October 2014

Saint Benedict's Prayer Book

Saint Benedict's Prayer Book, 1993 Ampleforth Abbey Press, York

This is a great prayer book for people with busy lives. The daily office of morning and evening prayer in this book is beautifully short. You get a introductory prayer, a psalm, a New Testament reading and a concluding prayer, with an Our Father and a Hail Mary squeezed in. If I am in a rush in the morning, I sometimes say this instead of the Little Office of the BVM or the Book of Common Prayer. I like the fact that the Hail Mary is included. I was rather surprised to find the Hail Mary is not part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

There are no response sections in morning and evening prayer, like those in the Liturgy of the Hours and Little Office, which makes this book much more convenient for solitary use. A useful selection of additional prayers are included in the back, including the Litany of the Saints. Many of these prayers are given in both Latin and English.

I don't like the night prayer in this book so much. It assumes that one if living in a house with one's family and so is less relevant to those living on their own. I also dislike the decision to include a pithy quotation of Saint Benedict on every page. This is a prayer book, not a 'Wisdom of Saint Benedict!' Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the New Testament portions are taken from the New Jerusalem Bible rather than a more dignified translation.

The book does has an attractive an sturdy hardcover. I would very much recommend the Saint Benedict's Prayer Book as an aid to devotion.

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