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5.0 out of 5 stars The liturgy of the hours, part 2, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: Divine Office Volume 2: v. 2 (Leather Bound)
(I've added some photographs (under "Customer images") of the book you actually receive.)

This is the second (of three) volumes of the "full" modern Catholic breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, this time covering Lent and Easter. The other two volumes cover Advent and Christmas (vol 1), and the rest of the year (vol 3).

These volumes are the pinnacle of a whole range of Collins books featuring content from the Liturgy of the Hours in the same style. In ascending order of size, it goes:

- "Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer"
- "Morning and Evening Prayer"
- "Daily Prayer"
- "The Divine Office" (3 vols)

Each of these is effectively a step up, an expanded version of the last. There's no need for anyone to own all seven of these books, as the Divine Office contains everything in Daily Prayer, which in turn contains everything in Morning and Evening Prayer, etc etc; each time you step up, it renders the previous step redundant.

This, the three-part Divine Office set, is the full-length version, the biggest of the lot. Between them, they contain everything that's in the smaller volumes, plus a lot of extra material - the introduction and user guide (the "General Instruction") is in volume 1, but all three contain many hours of prayer for each day of the year, as well as a healthy sampling of hymns, poems and prayers for specific purposes.

The main draw here over the cheaper single-volume "Daily Prayer" is the fantastic Office of Readings, which gives a scriptural reading (different from the readings at Mass, drawn from a variety of different English translations and sometimes featuring selections from books which don't feature at Mass at all) and a non-scriptural reading, often a homily or commentary on the preceding scripture reading, for every single day of the year. You also get alternate (extra) readings for the Proper of Saints for England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Australia, many of these readings providing very useful biographical or autobiographical material on a given saint as a complement to that day's Mass.

For me, these readings are among the best parts of the whole breviary, and so these books are absolutely worth getting. This one is beautifully produced, crisply printed with six ribbons and a bright red hardback cover - I don't agree with other reviewers' comments that the cream paper is too thin, it's not particularly opaque but actually feels quite a bit sturdier than most Bibles and Missals I've owned. (See the photos I uploaded for a better idea).

I can't imagine living without these books now, and I recommend them without hesitation.
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