Sunday, October 14, 2007

Best Daily Devotionals & Studies

Note: This was my response to a post titled, "Ten Reasons: Short breviary?" and it's opening sentence, "Can anyone recommend a short breviary suitable for the laity?"  My response follows and is posted here.

I've tried, but don't care for Shorter Christian Prayer, Christian Prayer or Benedictine Daily Prayer.

IMHO, Magnificat is best, supplemented by the Second Reading for Vigils (i.e., the Office of Readings). The four-volume leather edition of The Liturgy of the Hours is superb, but a bit pricey; I'd recommend using it through Universalis (and you don't have to set your book each day if you use Universalis). I download it to my smartphone, along with Mobile Gabriel. Both are available via AvantGo. (I use Mobile Gabriel for their Mass readings and reflections, and Universalis for the Divine Office.)

Frankly, I prefer In Conversation with God above anything else, followed by Magnificat, and The Liturgy of the Hours (which I now use via Universalis on my smartphone), although I usually use the LOTH only for Vigils/Matins/Office of Readings (this is my favorite hour).

I also try to read at least one sermon each week from the Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers and reflect on the Sunday Mass responsorial Psalm using Neale's Commentary on the Psalms. Both are extraordinary!! (BTW, it's really the Neale and Littledale Commentary on the Psalms. Both (Sunday Sermons and Neale's commentary) are available from Eighth Day Books, my favorite Christian book supplier.)

Other sources to consider: From the Fathers to the Churches, the Divine Hours series by Phyllis Tickle (not my cup of tea, but it might be yours) and Celtic Daily Prayer. (Fact: Ancient texts have incorrectly translated a word into English as "harps"; in fact, it should be "pipes" -- as in "bagpipes"!! Hence, one reason I enjoy the Celtic book, which I read while listening to a couple of Celtic music podcasts, Taize music, Gregorian chants, you get my point.)

For the Psalms specifically, it's hard to beat Spurgeon's Treasury of David (available free from e-Sword), Augustine's Exposition on the Psalms (available free from CCEL), the ArtScroll Tehillim Commentary, and Psalms with the Jerusalem Commentary (from Judaica Press). The book Christ in the Psalms by Fr. Reardon is excellent, too. Of course, all of these play second fiddle to Neale.

For reference, I'm an American expat living in China, a member of both Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and Abundant Life Christian Fellowship (Church of God) in Silicon Valley (as well as being a Microsoft/Oracle/Samsung alumni), and had the pleasure of spending six months living and working as a cloistered monk at several Benedictine and Trappist monasteries. Was fluent in Hebrew (perhaps the only Gentile to ever receive the Free Sons of Israel medal for Hebrew scholarship) and regularly use the (Jewish) Orthodox Stone Chumash (ArtScroll) and Conservative Etz Hayim (JPS) when I study the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. (Another "must read": The Bible as it Was.)



Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.


Post a Comment

<< Home