THE GLENSTAL BOOK OF PRAYER:
A Benedictine Prayer Book
(The Columba Press, 2001, 159pp, $27.95. Available from AD Books)
The Glenstal Book of Prayer, subtitled "A Benedictine Prayer Book," is clear and readable, drawing on the rich resources of Benedictine liturgy, the Scriptures, the Church's accumulated wisdom and the Celtic tradition of the Irish monks who have produced this inspirational little book.
Glenstal Abbey is a Benedictine Community located in County Limerick, Ireland. It was set up in 1927 from Maredsous in Belgium and was the first Benedictine Community in Ireland since the Reformation. It was founded in memory of Abbot Columba Marmion, a Dublin priest, recently beatified.
The book is divided into sections on Daily Prayer, Familiar Prayers, Ritual Prayers and Additional Psalms and Readings from the Rule of St Benedict. It marks out the key feasts celebrated throughout the year - Christmas, Lent, Easter - all drawing the reader more deeply into the life of Christ, including His passion, death and resurrection.
The Familiar Prayers include the Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, Angelus, Stations of the Cross, Rosary and many more. Under Ritual Prayers we find Prayers for Various Occasions and Blessings. Some of the Ritual Prayers were written by St Ignatius of Loyola, St Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, while others are described as "traditional". The Blessings cover a wide variety of occasions, circumstances and needs - the home, the family, the elderly, the sick, and others.
The concluding section of this highly recommended publication comprises a Calendar of Saints and Feasts for the whole year.
Mary-Jane Donnellan is a Melbourne Catholic writer.