The writings of the Fathers of the Church have never been more widely available, yet obtaining an exhaustive and userfriendly volume of patristics can still be a daunting task. Without realizing it, many priests, seminarians, members of religious communities, and even laity already own a patristic library-- their Liturgy of the Hours.
In the four volumes of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official daily prayer of the Catholic Church, there are nearly 600 selections from the writings of Fathers and saints. Seeing the potential of this vast collection as a theological resource, Milton Walsh has organized these selections by topics according to the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This topical concordance allows the reader to compare what the various authors have written on the same themes, while a chronological timeline of the readings shows their relationship to each other in time.
Walsh has also provided background on the liturgical celebrations of the Church, as well as historical information on each author. In addition, there is a chapter on how patristic readings can assist in understanding the Bible.
This fresh and original presentation of material that is literally at the fingertips of anyone praying the Liturgy of the Hours can be a tremendous aid to both religious devotion and theological study.
"Recently the Holy Father devoted time in each of his Wednesday audiences to explaining to the pilgrims who came to Rome the importance of the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the saints in the life of each believer today. Pope Benedict taught them that the true teaching of the Church is not "invented by intellectuals," it is not something that "goes beyond the Church's simple faith." No. The true Gospel is the one imparted by the Bishops, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, who have received this teaching in an uninterrupted line from the apostles. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Milton Walsh who, in his collection Witness of the Saints, has painstakingly arranged important quotations from the patristic lectionary of the Prayer of the Hours (Office of Readings) in such a way that this treasure of the writings of the Fathers and saints that both inspires and informs is now conveniently and immediately accessible to all. Preachers, teachers, parents - all of the faithful who desire to drink from the fountain of true wisdom and to share this life giving nourishment with others will want to keep this volume close at hand. Witness of the Saints is a valuable tool to help all of us "think with the Church" (sentire cum Ecclesia), after the heart and mind of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
- Father Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B.