Book Review: Liturgy of the Hours

This year, for Father’s Day, I received a new set of the Liturgy of the Hours. I was permitted to choose what type of breviary I wanted, and I was seriously tempted to purchase the Roman Breviary, which thanks to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum is once again an approved form.

20140624_101706_AndroidHowever, the people who we know who would pray the liturgy with us do not use the pre-Vatican II breviary, and so I would be choosing not to pray in a community setting when I have the opportunity. For example, in less than a week I am embarking on my first international mission trip (more on that in coming days), and received an e-mail addressed to the group reminding us to bring our breviaries for morning and evening prayer.

20140624_101849_AndroidBecause of this, I selected the Liturgy of the Hours in black leather published by the Catholic Book Publishing Corp., available from Adoremus Books here. I received the set yesterday.

My initial impression is that this is a well-made and attractive set. The binding is natural leather, and flexible — which is nice for a prayer book that gets tossed in bags. My only complaint against my Daily Missal (from MTF) is that the cover is leather over cardboard, and therefore somewhat inflexible. Each book has a set of six colored marker ribbons. The pages have gold edging. The type is clear and readable, a nice setting.

20140624_102028_AndroidOne easy way to get started praying the Liturgy of the Hours is to download an app, like iBreviary. An app makes it easier to follow because you don’t have to flip around in the book. The set included some aids for learning to pray the liturgy. The aids included: (1) a handy guide for 2014 that tells you the page numbers for each day of the year; (2) an outline of each hour and the format of the various offices on nice card stock; (3) a card with common texts; (4) a card with common texts for solemnities and feasts; (5) a card with invitatory psalms as alternatives to Psalm 95; (6) a card outlining Night Prayer; and (7) a Liturgy of the Hours Supplement for newer feasts and memorials (e.g., Bl. Junipero Serra, Bl. Maximilian Kolbe, etc.).

20140624_102205_Android 1At $179, this set is not inexpensive but it is definitely worth the money. It would also make an excellent gift for a newly-ordained priest or deacon (or religious) who is obliged to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

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