Reviewed by Meredith Gould (@meredithgould) who [gratefully and happily] receives review copies from Paraclete Press.
The Little Book of Hours:
Praying with the Community of Jesus
Paraclete Press (2007)
Paper: 258 pps.
The Little Book of Hours is a little treasure from the Community of Jesus (CJ), an ecumenical community in the Benedictine monastic tradition.
Their prayerbook provides Morning Prayer, a Midday Service, and Vespers for each day of the week in a four-week cycle. A service for Compline is offered for use throughout the month. Also included: Collects or "Prayers for Various Occasions" (e.g., For Peace; For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement; A General Thanksgiving).
Like the Virtual Abbey, this Massachusetts-based community includes women and men, married couples and singles, old and young. Committed to praying the Daily Office, they explain in the Introduction how, "In our community, we think of prayer as our common heartbeat, that rhythmic and unceasing exchange of receiving and giving that sustains our lives."
Perhaps these parallels explain why The Little Book of Hours has proven to be so delightfully helpful. For the past month, I've been using the CJ's prayerbook when tweeting midday prayer and Compline. Love how traditional form and content have been honored, yet modified in length. As a result, the services work well within the constraints of Twitter without sacrificing the comforting elegance of the Daily Office.
Bonuses beyond Twitter: the text is beautifully designed, the book small enough to be easily toted, and comes with a ribbon page-marker.