The first volume in a trilogy of prayer manuals compiled by Publishers Weekly religion editor Phyllis Tickle as a contemporary Book of Hours to guide Christians gently yet authoritatively through the daily offices.The Divine Hours is the first major literary and liturgical reworking of the sixth-century Benedictine Rule of fixed-hour prayer. This beautifully conceived and thoroughly modern three-volume guide will appeal to the theological novice as well as to the ecclesiastical sophisticate. Making primary use of the Book of Common Prayer and the writings of the Church Fathers, The Divine Hours is also a companion to the New Jerusalem Bible, from which it draws its Scripture readings. The trilogy blends prayer and praise in a way that, while extraordinarily fresh, respects and builds upon the ancient wisdom of Christianity.The first book in the set, Prayers for Summertime, filled with prayers, psalms, and readings, is one readers will turn to again and again. Compact in size, it is perfect for those seeking greater spiritual depth. As a contemporary Book of Hours, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime heralds a renewal of the tradition of disciplined daily prayer, and will whet the hunger of a large and eager audience for the follow-up autumn/winter and spring volumes.The first book in the set, PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME, filled with prayers, psalms, and readings, is the one readers will turn to when making their daily summertime devotions. Compact, with a ribbon marker and deluxe endpapers, it is perfect for those seeking spiritual guidance and renewal. THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME heralds a new form of an old tradition and whets the hunger of a large and eager audience for the follow-up winter and spring volumes. --From the Hardcover edition.
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May 01, 2006
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Excerpt from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
An Introduction to This Manual From the beginning two things have been the necessary form and mystery of Christian spirituality. Two things, even before the closing events of resurrection, ascension, and commission, wove disparate and often renegade believers into an inspirited body of the whole, connected to God and each other. Like a double helix rendered elegant by complexity and splendid by authority, the amalgam of gospel and shared meal and the discipline of fixed-hour prayer were and have remained the chain of golden connection tying Christian to Christ and Christian to Christian across history, across geography, and across idiosyncrasies of faith. The former is known as the food and sustenance of the Church, the latter as its work. The Divine Hours is about the second part of this double strand, the work; it is a manual for the contemporary exercise of fixed-hour prayer. Although designed primarily for private use by individuals or by small groups, The Divine Hours may certainly be employed by larger and/or more public communities. Likewise, though designed primarily for lay use, it can as well be employed by the ordained in either private or corporate prayer. Those already familiar with fixed-hour prayer (variously referred to as "The Liturgy of the Hours" or "keeping the hours" or "saying the offices") and with its tools (the breviaries of monastic worship and the Book of Hours manuals for laity that date from medieval times) will find some modifications and innovations here. They may wish to scan what follows for explication of these changes. Others, especially those for whom keeping the hours is a new practice, may wish to read the remainder of this introduction more thoroughly. June The Morning Office To Be Observed on the Hour or Half Hour Between 6 and 9 a.m. The Call to Prayer Come, let us sing to the LORD;* Let us rejoice this day in the strength of our salvation. Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving,* and raise a loud shout to Him with psalms. Psalm 95:1-2 The Request for Presence Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;* shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim. In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,* stir up your strength and come to help us, Restore us, O God of hosts;* show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. Psalm 80:1-3 The Greeting It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD,* and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High; To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning* and of your faithfulness in the night season; for as it was in the beginning, it is now and it evermore shall be. Alleluia. Psalm 92:1-2; Gloria The Refrain for the Morning Lessons Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.* Turn my eyes from longing after vanities. based on Psalm 119:36 and 37 A Reading Jesus taught us, saying: 'And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.' Matthew 6:5-6 The Refrain Incline my heart, O God, to your ways.* Turn my eyes from longing after vanities. The Morning Psalm: God's Gifts for Joyful Living The law of the LORD is perfect and revives the soul;* the testimony of the LORD is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent. The statutes of the LORD are just and rejoice the heart;* the commandment of the LORD is clear a