CHANTING THE PSALMS
As my monastic spiritual quest unfolds God continues to put amazing books in my path. Each leads to another and on and on they go. My Amazon account is grateful to be sure!
In early 2014 when I was looking for books to use with my Lectio Divina and Liturgy of the Hours practices, I started reading Phyllis Tickle’s book series The Divine Hours. She spoke about the history of The Hours and how years ago monks (and some still today) would chant the Liturgy vs. speaking it.
A light bulb moment hit and I began looking for a book on chanting. Then voila’! I discovered Cynthia Bourgault’s book Chanting the Psalms. The perfect answer to my search.
Not only is this book an incredible history of chanting but it is a beautiful teaching tool of music and worship. The best part is the instructional CD that is included to help you learn the chants.
Don’t worry if you’re not a musician or a singer. Cynthia has all that covered. She does an awesome job putting us at ease with our uncertainties and inexperience. As a novice with chanting I need lots of practice. But that’s where our spiritual growth comes through our practice.
I am so excited about Chanting the Psalms by Cynthia Bourgeault and plan to use it for many years to come. I hope you will consider it as an addition to your prayer and personal worship experience.
Originally published November 26, 2014
THE DIVINE HOURS: Prayers for Summertime
For the last several months I have been using Phyllis Tickle’s prayer book series. I purchased the entire set which includes prayer books for each season of the year, along with a book of Night Offices. I started with Prayers for Springtime and have now moved to Prayers for Summertime.
If you are unfamiliar with Phyllis Tickle you will find her a prolific writer with dozens of books to her name. She is the founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly and has been a much sought after speaker on religion in America.
In The Divine Hours Ms. Tickle makes primary use of The Book of Common Prayer, the writings of the Church Fathers and takes Scripture readings from the New Jerusalem Bible. Each book is divided into specific time categories: Morning, Mid-day, Evening and Night and is easy to navigate to find today’s reading.
As a recovering addict it’s critical that I keep my prayer routine on track and The Divine Hours series has been most helpful in this area. Although I have several prayer books and iPhone apps, I really enjoy Phyllis Tickle’s books and use them regularly.
If you are looking for a way to freshen your prayer and praise routine while participating in the ancient practice of the liturgy, I highly recommend The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.
A Book of Hours
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was an incredible spiritual thinker of the 20th Century. Though he lived a mostly solitary life as a Trappist monk, he had an amazing impact on the world through is writing. He was an out spoken anti-war and civil rights proponent and was reprimanded for his social criticisms. He was unique among Christian leaders in that he embraced Eastern mysticism and sought to bridge the gap between the East and the West.
Over the last several years I’ve run across Thomas Merton’s name in many books. Having read several by now, I am quite taken by his way of teaching, his convictions and his sweet poetic writing style.
A Book of Hours wasn’t written personally by Thomas Merton, it is a recent compilation from his books sweetly edited by Kathleen Deignan and beautifully illustrated by John Giuliani.
Designed as a daily prayer book, A Book of Hours has various selections from Merton’s poems and other writings divided up as hymns and prayers which are to be read each day of the week at Dawn, Day, Dusk and at Dark.
It has been the a tradition of the Christian church since ancient times to pray throughout the day. In this way the church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing. As I have embraced monastic spirituality, praying the Liturgy of the Hours has been a wonderful way to keep me spiritually focused through the day. It helps me specifically in my recovery walk to stay on track.
I highly recommend The Book of Hours by Thomas Merton. Beautifully bound, it is a great gift for yourself or a friend. It is one of the sweetest prayer books I own. I will treasure it for many years to come.