My sweet internet friend Madelena asked the other day on Instagram for my favorite Catholic prayer books. I actually have a couple that I love and use in different seasons so I thought I would share them here in a post. Now when I say “different seasons” you know what I’m talking about right? There is the early pregnancy season where you are so bone tired–a tired no one can even explain and when sharing with other mommas, you don’t have to. There’s the newborn season where you are so bone tired, as Dwija states in her Instagram profile, she’s just trying to find two brain cells to rub together. Or the toddler season where you are so touched and mommied by the end of the day or first thing the next morning (co-sleep anyone? don’t co-sleep but somehow wake up in a bed full of children anyone?) Or how about the teen season where the physicality of our vocation might have decreased but the mental, emotional and spiritual side of our vocation has just been ramped up–the decisions are bigger, trickier and the ramifications life altering. Or the season of mothering adult children–my sister told me the other day, “Mothering adult children is not for the faint of heart.” As we’re so accustomed to hearing now, “There’s an app for that!” Well, no matter the season, “There’s a prayer book for that!” Of course, these are just my own and I certainly don’t know of every Catholic prayer book, for every season. Please share your favorite prayer book or books in the comments.
Let’s start my favorite right now, Mother Love. I won’t write much about it here since I just did. But let me say, I keep this Catholic prayer book beside me at home, in the car, Adoration, Mass, wherever. There literally is prayer for any want, need or desire a mother may have. Prayers for Labor, a sick child, one who has strayed. Prayers for a mother, father, family, a child discerning a vocation. Meditations, Litanies and words of encouragement and instruction.
The next Catholic prayer book I want to share with you is the very first Catholic prayer book I purchased, My Daily Bread. This prayer book is meaty but not long, comfortable but not too casual, and covers every topic imaginable. Each chapter begins with a reflection or meditation, “Receive them, a chapter a day, as coming directly from Christ. Often, between the lines, He will give you a message which is meant for you alone…Each chapter follows this simple plan: (a) listen; (b) think; (c) answer Him.” I liken this prayer book as similar to “Jesus Calling.”
Although fairly new to the Catholic prayer book/devotional scene, Small Steps for Catholic Mom’s is already a well loved favorite by many mommas. I love Elizabeth Foss. I don’t know Danielle Bean much–well, I don’t “know” Elizabeth either except for the fact I’ve read everything she’s posted on line for as long as I’ve been online. Regardless of whether I know these mommas or not, they put together a prayer book for mommas by mommas. The Table of Contents is divided by months with corresponding virtues. For example, Charity is the focused virtue for August. Each day there are three steps: Think–a lovely saints quote, Pray–a prompt for a momma to pray and Act–a simple concrete way to add works to our prayer and meditation. These are not hard. They are simple, straight forward and speak clearly to a Catholic momma’s heart.
Next up is a hearty, meaty, stick to your spiritual ribs Catholic prayer book, Divine Intimacy. I have the leather version and love the feel of it in my hands–when I use it. There are definite seasons when I’ve prayed with this book. There have also been times where it was so far above my tired, foggy head; but I still loved it. This prayer book follows the Liturgical Year. The beginning of each day has a brief–one to two sentences–“Presence of God.” This is followed by a hearty unpacking of the “Presence of God” with saints quotes and scripture references. A Colloquy follows. This is prayer, usually inspired by a Carmelite saint. This book is absolutely beautiful, although maybe not the best fit for the momma who can barely find the time for a shower.
Finally, My Daily Psalms Book: The Perfect Prayer Book. “The Church gives us many prayers. But after the prayers of the Mass, none are more hallowed than the Psalms—where God Himself teaches us to pray in words inspired by the Holy Spirit.” Really, enough said. This book is purse, night stand, kitchen counter size. It contains the Psalms arranged according to the prayers of the Church, “My Daily Psalm Book is a simple Divine Office for lay people to pray the Psalms assigned to each day of the week.” It also lists the Psalms by topic: depressed, discouraged, afraid of storms, tempted, impatient, etc. It also includes a Prayer Guide to use the Psalms for Morning prayers, Evening prayers, Before and After Communion, Before and After Confession, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, etc. When I use this Catholic prayer book, I feel the whole “Catholic = Universal” thing. Knowing the Psalms I’m praying are being prayed around the world by religious and lay at the same time is comforting and for lack of a more sophisticated word, neat.
So those are my favorite Catholic prayer books, a compliment to a post I wrote about some of my favorite books for spiritual reading. I think there is something for anyone at any season in their life, spiritual journal or season. What is/are your favorite prayer books?