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Morning and Evening Prayer Hardcover – August 1, 2005
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First off, this is the full Roman Rite offices of lauds, vespers, and compline. It contains the standard four-week psalter for lauds and vespers, as well as the Proper of Season and Proper of Saints. (This includes propers for commemorations of saints on the national calendar in Australia, England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.) The psalms are from the Grail Translation (which is the same used in the Christian Prayer volume from CBP). It includes both UK and ICEL translations for the Magnificat/Benedictus/Nunc Dimittis. (ICEL being the translations used in the back of the Magnificat magazine and commonly used in the United States.) Bible translations come from a few approved translations, most from the Jerusalem Bible and RSV
For me, the major positives compared to other available books are:
1. Official Roman Rite Liturgy of the Hours. I’ve looked at and used other books such as Benedictine Daily Prayer (which is a great one-volume containing all the traditional hours), or similar devotions such as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but if you’re interested in participating in the “prayer of the church”, this is one of only a handful of English language editions printed currently.
2. Contains full lauds and vespers. Shorter Christian Prayer is another great resource, but only contains the four-week psalter. One of the things that drew me to the LOTH was experiencing the full liturgical year in my daily prayer.
3. Smaller Size. This copy is smaller than the very popular Christian Prayer. It does not contain any of daytime prayer, or any texts from the Office, which some people might dislike, but if you’re focusing on Lauds, Vespers, and Compline it is sufficient.
4. Aesthetics. I much prefer the layout and style of this volume to the CPB printings in the US as it doesn’t contain any of the dated 70s religious art. I prefer the typesetting and font choices, as well as the binding.
I’ve also included some pictures, which I struggled to find when I was comparing texts. Additionally, I have not been using the book for a significant amount of time, so I can't speak to the longevity of the binding, however it feels as I would expect. As a disclaimer, this is the official edition for England and Wales, so if you plan on reciting the hours in a public setting in the U.S., this text probably won’t match what others are using for readings and antiphons, but for private devotion, that’s not an issue.
4 ribbon markers included.
Good size font for reading. Handy book size.
Bible readings from excellent RSV and Knox translations.
Psalms are The Grail psalms translation.
I especially love the poetry included
and classic beauty of the opening hymns selected.
It was truly exhilarating to pray in the words of King David, the apostles and Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and commemorate the wonderful treasure of feast days and memorials that fills nearly every day of the Catholic calendar with special prayers. Probably most of all, it is a very edifying feeling to pray with one voice, at the same time with all the priests, nuns and monks, ie probably the holiest people on earth sending a wonderful communal prayer up to our Heavenly Father. When I kneel before my altar, I think of the priests, including the Pope and the Bishops and Cardinals who are at the very same time (Obviously giving for the difference in time between different countries, which God obviously doesn't have to worry about) kneeling in the presbyteries, the nuns and monks kneeling on the hard floors in their convents and monasteries and I am spurred on with this wonderful vision of my brothers and sisters in Christ praying with me even though I seem to be praing alone, wherever I may be.
It's the version (Harper Collins) that we use in our local Church when we say the Morning prayer before the daily Mass. It takes a bit of getting used to, as to what exactly to say when, and unfortunately there aren't a lot of good guides out there. `Divine Office for dodos' seems to be the only book out there, which is very good at heart, but a bit tedious and nearly as big as the prayer book itself, so you are left feeling that you should get a diploma at the end of it. I had written a brief summary of the technique, but my computer crashed and I lost it. I will rewrite it, so watch this space. In the meantime, the best way to learn it well is to ask a priest, or go to morning prayer at your Church, or maybe Vespers at a seminary. You can always make a start by reading the guidance in the book itself and see how you go.