The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

[I’ve been meaning to write this since February, but life keeps getting me muddled. Why are book reviews both the hardest and easiest blog posts to write? It’s a great mystery. Anyway, I had an inquiry about this book today and it prompted me to finally finish writing my review for crying out loud.]

The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey of Coffee and Canticles. I have to confess, I’m not the most unbiased of reviewers. I’ve been a fan of Daria’s for a long time. (I hope she doesn’t mind if I call her by her first name, but having read her blog for ages and having even met in person it just feels weird to call her anything else.) When I first found her blog back in 2011 I was so excited to see someone writing so clearly and insightfully about the Liturgy of the Hours. When I learned she was writing a book I was over the moon.

Daria’s book doesn’t disappoint, either. It’s a great primer for the Liturgy of the Hours, aka Divine Office, aka Breviary, aka Christian Prayer, aka Morning, Evening, Daytime,and Night Prayer, aka Lauds, Vespers, Terce, None, Sext, Vespers, and Compline (with a dash of the Office of Readings, aka Vigils). This is a book I’d definitely recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about this primary prayer of the Church. If you’ve been curious about the Liturgy of the Hours but didn’t know where to start; if you’ve never heard of the Liturgy of the Hours but are interested in learning about an ancient form of prayer that has existed from the earliest days of the Church; if you have a breviary gathering dust because you just can’t figure out how to use it; if you want to read more scripture but aren’t sure how to begin… really unless you are a Liturgy of the Hours pro, this book probably has something for you. And even for someone like me who has been praying it for a decade, I still found some great little nuggets and a lot of encouragement. Daria introduces the various hours and explains how they are prayed, dissecting them into the various parts. She explains all the technical vocabulary, reviews all the various versions out there, including electronic versions, as well as the various learning resources and guides. She tells you not only how to pray, but why to pray as well. She explains how the liturgy of the hours meshes with the liturgical year. She addresses common complaints and quibbles. She even dives into a bit of spiritual exegesis for beginners.

And the book is short enough not to be overwhelming: only 115 pages. All very easy to read in non-complicated layman’s language. All in all a very friendly little book. I’m thinking this, perhaps along with a volume of Christian Prayer, would be a great gift for confirmation. Treat yourself, treat a friend.

 

5 Responses to The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

  1. Jessica April 28, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    To this day I love the Little House books. Along with Charlotte’s Web I read them over and over and over again. I’m sure that given a line I can tell you what book and what chapter it comes from, or at least the circumstances surrounding it. I cannot read the section about Jack dying without getting choked up. And my older children “tease” me that I cannot read it out loud. Nor can I read aloud the section of Charlotte’s Web when she dies. I read most of the companion books except for the later Rose books because Rose becomes a bit of a feminist, but I just cried when Laura went back home when Pa was dying and he gave her his fiddle. My two oldest did not like them as much as I did, but my 3rd daughter seems to have a greater affection for them. I’m glad Bella loves them.

  2. Danielle April 29, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    I recently received all of my personal belongings that I had stored at my late parents’ home, part of which was my full collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder books – all of the “Little House” books, plus other books written about Laura Ingalls Wilder, including some that I had purchased while visiting her home/museum in Mansfield, MO, years ago. Now, so many years later (35+ years) after I first read her books, I read many parts of them all over again and read the last four (The Long Winter through The First Four Years) pretty much cover to cover. I, too, remembered full lines and paragraphs that I had not read in decades. What a joy. I’m so glad to see here that another generation of children are loving them.

  3. Nicole B. April 29, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    My “Pearl” is closer to Sophie’s age, but she is a huge fan of Brambly Hedge and the Little House Series as well.  The Martha and Charlotte Books are both excellent by Mrs. Melissa Wiley.  Thank you to Bella for her other pick; I’ll be sure to check and see if our Library has The-Island-below-the-star.  God Bless y’all!

  4. Enbrethiliel May 1, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    +JMJ+

    I love that Bella already has a reading plan! =D

    When I was going through the first four Little House books, I also wondered about the songs. At the time, it didn’t occur to me to look them up, but I’ll definitely do that if I do a reread or keep going with the rest of the series.

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