The Glenstal Book of Prayer is a rich, nourishing resource on the dark, mysterious, but exciting journey that is prayer. It draws on things both old and new: on the wisdom of the Bible, enshrined in Benedictine liturgy, on the experience of modern monks, and on the wisdom of the Christian Church throughout her long and varied history. Coming as it does from an Irish monastery, it reflects in a special way the Celtic tradition with its earthy, popular and devotional prayers. Beautifully bound and designed, it is both prayer and inspiration.
The first section is a simplified Liturgy of the Hours to dedicate and bless those two great moments of the day that bear witness to Christ: morning, when we celebrate his rising as the light of the world, and evening, when we acclaim him as the unquenchable light that never sets. Through psalms, canticles, and other words of scripture, through invocations and concluding prayers, the day is hallowed and the presence of the risen Christ is gratefully remembered.
In addition, elements have been included stemming from the ancient custom of consecrating special moments to the Lord in the bustle of the daily round. These “prayer-stops” are the modern equivalent to monastic Little Hours, recalling as they do the coming of the Holy Spirit and the dramatic events of Christ’s passion. They are an invitation and an opportunity to pause in the midst of work and turn our hearts to God.
Night prayer (Compline), the last monastic office of the day, is included as the prayer before sleep. Its haunting psalms and canticles, its prayers for protection, its calling upon Mary are some of the most beautiful treasures from the storehouse of monastic prayer. They lead us gently across the bridge of sleep, from the glaring light of day to the dark cradle of the night and the world of dreams.
This liturgical section includes a seasonal element so that the great festivals of the Christian year may be incorporated in our prayer, and a calendar of saints days so that they can be commemorated. A selection of prayers for that purpose is also provided. These can be used in place of the prayer at the end of morning and evening prayer.
The second section consists of familiar prayers, those tried and tested prayer texts stretching back through the centuries: the Lords Prayer, the Apostles Creed, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and many others.
The third section, ritual prayers, provides prayer forms for various needs and occasions as they arise in every life, and a series of blessings. It will be a valuable and useful resource for the many times when spoken or formal prayers are looked for in situations of necessity, sorrow, joy, or grief. The Celtic element is particularly marked in this part of the book. There is also a special prayer for Benedictine Oblates.
The fourth and final part includes psalms (to supplement the liturgical section or for meditation) and a series of quotations from the Rule of Saint Benedict. The latter, encapsulating the wisdom of this great foundational text of Christian civilization, can be read as part of night prayer (Compline) or simply meditated or ruminated upon as a source of inspiration in ones spiritual life.
Thus, The Glenstal Book of Prayer provides for the whole sweep of prayer. It captures that movement of the Holy Spirit in the human heart that is prayer and through which God reaches out and embraces us.
Includes two-color printing throughout and a ribbon marker.