Thursday, 17 November 2011

Recommended Reads (Nov 17, 2011)

“Beware the man of one book.”
St Thomas Aquinas

“The man who doesn't read good books
has no advantage over the man who can't read them.”
Mark Twain

“There are worse crimes than burning books.
One of them is not reading them.”
Joseph Brodsky

Yesterday I made mention of Pope Benedict XVI’s call for all to pray the Divine Office. One of the challenges of the Liturgy of the Hours is that it does seem quite daunting to get to know how to pray the office. The Divine Office consists of either three or four volumes and it can become confusing, for those new to it, to know what prayers and readings apply on which day. Though I assure you that it really appears more daunting than it actually is.

The other challenge for the laity is that the Divine Office could be perceived as an extremely expensive set of books. The cost however needs to be considered in terms of the extensive value of the contents. For example, Matins (Office of Readings) always contains a reading from one of the Church Fathers, Saints or a variety of other valuable sources. And they are all sound Catholic Church teaching.

I bought my first set of the Liturgy of the Hours in 1987. I have used it almost daily and I have yet to reach a point where I think, oh dear, boring, I have read this before. One really has to experience the Divine Office to truly appreciate it. You may want to ask your parish priest to let you look through his copy so that you can get a true sense of its tremendous value. (I actually learned the Divine Office when I began praying Lauds and Vespers with my Anglican Parish Priest, Fr. Thomas Amoore, each day during school holidays.) Maybe your parish priest would enjoy you joining him in the church in the mornings for Lauds or in the evenings to pray Vespers and, in this way, so you could learn. You can also see some of the content of the Divine Office on the Universalis webpage.

I am an extremely analytical person and so I always think of things in analytical terms. Consider this: A set of the Divine Office today would cost around R2,000, depending on which set you purchased. If you use it daily, as I have for 24 years since 1987, it equates to spending just R7 a month to effectively have something “new” to read and meditate on each day of your life. Given that the set will probably be good for another 24 years, that cost drops to just R3.50 a month. I challenge anyone to purchase a good stock of books, for your personal edification, for each and every day of your life, for just R3.50 per month.

If you would like to purchase the 4 volume set here are the links for:
Liturgy of the Hours - Purchase from Kalahari

and this is the link for Amazon
Liturgy of the Hours - Purchase from Amazon

Another available option, which resolves the cost consideration to a small degree, since it costs just £19.99, is to go the e-book route as offered by Universalis. The e-book option from Universalis will also resolve the issue of learning how to use the Divine Office because it automatically brings up the correct readings, psalms and prayers for each day. Universalis e-books can be read on:

~ e-book readers such as the Sony Reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and the Amazon Kindle.
~ e-book reading programs on laptop and desktop computers and other devices.
~ mobile phones that can read e-books.

Here is the link to purchase and download the Universalis e-book version of the Divine Office.

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