On a recent afternoon I found myself trapped in my bedroom at nap time beneath a pile of sleeping kids. Ben was in my lap nursing. Sophie was draped across my knees where she was trying to get as close to my lap as possible. And Bella was curled up next to me. All sound asleep at last. I was enjoying the quiet, which I was sure would be broken as soon as I tried to move. Not sleepy for once, I wanted to pray but realized I’d left the current volume of the Liturgy of the Hours in the living room.
So I picked up the iPod Touch, a gadget I inherited by default when Dom got his new iPhone. I don’t really use it much. If I listen to music it’s either over the speakers in the living room or the car stereo. And most of the time I just enjoy the silence. So the iPod sits beside my bed currently to act as an alarm clock and nightlight for middle of the night baby checks. But I’d been playing with it the other day and realized that Dom had iBreviary loaded on it. Now I remembered and grabbed the handy device, flipped it on and easily navigated one-handed to Daytime Prayer:
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
I had thought it was a great application and probably quite handy for other people yet it hadn’t even occurred to me that it might be useful to me until I found myself stuck and grabbed for it in a moment of inspired necessity. But to my great surprise I found I really, really like praying with the iPod.
- I really like the small screen that limits the amount of text you can see at a time. It keeps me focused, keeps my eyes from wandering about. Usually they drift ahead, skipping to the next verse or glazing over a psalm that isn’t grabbing me. I found that it was much easier to concentrate when only two verses are visible at one time.
- I found that it was much, much easier to hold while nursing. Usually I struggle to balance the book on my knee or on a pillow next to me. Also it was much easier to manipulate the scroll feature, flipping the screen with one finger than to turn pages in a book.
- And of course the iPod is much more portable than the book. I could slide it into my pocket and have it available to pray any time I find myself with a few free minutes.
- The iBreviary application also includes the daily mass readings and a selection of other prayers: the Angelus; the Magnificat; the Apostle’s Creed; Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition; Morning Offering.
- And I don’t have to flip back and forth between sections of the book. And it keeps track of feast days and liturgical seasons so I don’t have to remember to consult my St Joseph’s Guide.
- I also find the brownish background to be pleasant and easy on the eyes, much better than white would be.
What it doesn’t have:
- It doesn’t have the optional psalms for Daytime Prayer. You only have one set of psalms and one reading.
- It doesn’t have all the holy cards and additional prayers I have tucked into the pages and leather cover of my current LOTH volume.
- There are no optional hymns and no hymn included for Compline.
On the whole I am pleasantly surprised by this application. I think I may find I begin praying more with the iPod than with the book, especially since I currently tend to make my breaks for prayer coincide with Ben’s nursing sessions.
Also worth noting: This application was approved by The Vatican Council for Social Communications.
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