A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer: The Psalter of the Liturgy of the Hours Vinyl Bound – 1 Feb 1992
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The book for sale here is the Americanized version of that UK version. In other words, the spelling is different but it contains the same stuff: the four-week psalter, some selections from the proper of seasons, night prayer, and the office for the dead. However this version, like the UK version, has a vinyl cover, smaller dimensions, smaller type, a different font, two ribbon markers, no coloring on the edges of the psalter pages, no texts printed inside the front and back covers, and only one font color (black as opposed to black and red). It also gives the text of the hour's hymn within the psalter itself (i.e., immediately after the Invitatory) so that you don't have to go flipping to the appendix to find it.
-It is much more attractive. More compact, a nice Celtic-style cross on the cover as opposed to the goofy font and cartoonish embossed Chi-Rho of "Shorter Christian Prayer."
-Two ribbon markers instead of just one. You need two: one for the psalter, one for the proper of seasons. I don't know why CBP's only comes with one.
-No ugly red/black imitation-modern-art. No art at all, in fact.
-The font (regular Times New Roman or something like it) looks more "dignified" than CBP's font.
-Having the hymn text printed right there before the first psalm, as opposed to crammed somewhere in an appendix, means that I actually do the hymn instead of skipping it like I did with "Shorter Christian Prayer." I've really enjoyed this, as the hymns are older and therefore theologically profound.
-The font is much smaller than the CBP version's, perhaps 9-point. But this won't be an issue for you unless your eyes are going bad. You'll get used to it; it's about the same size as the font in a Penguin paperback.
-That smaller font, combined with the black-and-white printing and lack of any bolded headings, makes it harder to glance down and find your place quickly. The first time I used this version, I was surprised how dependent I had become on the color-coded layout of CBP's version, as much as I had thought I despised its comic-book appearance.
-The morning and evening canticles (benedictus and magnificat) are NOT printed in the inside covers as they are in CBP's version. This seems annoying at first, but I guess if you're keeping up with your prayers, you should have them memorized by now.
All in all, I MUCH prefer this version compared to CBP's. Yes, the font is smaller and the layout more uniform, but this also means that each page can fit more text and that, as a result, less flipping back and forth is needed. I'm more likely to pray the hour all the way through than to get distracted. If you stumble upon this version, I say buy it. I don't know why it's not more widely advertised. Liturgical Press is a pretty big publisher in the Catholic book world.
It is well bound and easily lies flat in one hand. The leatherette/plastic cover has a good 'feel' to it. It is small enough to easily fit in a bag to take along.
I am new to praying the Office so I threw myself into a study of how to go about it: YouTube videos, informational websites, online tutorials, etc. Learning to pray the Divine Office correctly takes some study and effort and I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire process of learning and delving into the deeper meaning of the Office and the Psalms.
This book is wonderful. I love it. It is a small compact size, it contains the parts of the Office that I am praying, and I really like how it is organized versus the 4-volume set of the LOTH. The Ordinary, which lays out how to pray the Office, is found right at the beginning. I especially like how the various Invitatory Psalms are grouped all together. This is followed by the four week Psalter which includes a week of Night Prayers. These sections are identical to the 4-volume set. The back portion of this prayer book includes some material from the Proper of Seasons. It provides you with one weeks worth of material for each of the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. It also provides for the feasts of the Lord in ordinary time and some general feast throughout the liturgical year. It concludes with material for the Office of the Dead and the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.
One drawback to this book is that it gives you enough material to get a flavor of the the seasonal variations but not all the material found in the 4-volume set. One thing that I feel is important is that I want to pray the exact same prayers that the universal church is praying because that gives added weight and significance to my prayers. For me, this is very powerful.
A good friend recently gave me his used 4-volume set of the LOTH (which was amazing!) and I now have both of these prayer resources to draw from. Like I said, I love this book for it compact size, it's organization, and that it contains the prayers of the hours that I pray. When the special seasons of the liturgical year come, I will use the 4-volume set because it gives the prayers for the full seasons.
I have truly come to love this book and the powerful prayer it helps facilitate. I have used online versions and even have the Daily Catholic and iBreviary apps on my phone, but for me, nothing beats having the actual book, moving the ribbons, changing pages, and reading from what for me has become a holy book. God is good!
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