I have been working down my summer reading list and enjoying the books so much. They have really spoken to me and convicted my heart for a strong return to God in our home. It's not that we have walked away from God, but in the busyness, He has gotten crowded out. I am truly seeking to bring peace and prayer into the center of our home in the coming year.
The chapters are easy to read, well laid out, and include lovely illustrtions thoughout. Before each chapter is a line drawing that can be copied so that children (or adults) can color it in and create their own sacred art. The book is even specially binded to allow easier copying--they really thought of everything.-
I especially enjoyed all the references to the Catechism, explanations of the different devotions and the understanding that not everything can be implemented by everyone. Years ago, I like many homeschool moms, read A Mother's Rule of Life. It was inspiring but overwhelming. I crafted the schedule and "rule" according to her model, but within two weeks just could not maintain it. I admire the author that she is able to spend so much time in prayer and keep such a rigid schedule with so many children and still homeschool, but I have yet to meet another mom who has read it and not walked away having failed to acheive the book's loafty goals.
The Little Oratory is different, even in the deep and rich presentation of numerous devotions, it is acknowledged that not every family will be able to do every one. The suggestion to start small and work from there was very comforting. In all truth, how many of us could completely overhaul our daily schedule and not get rebellion from the children or burnt out in the process? There are just only so many changes that can be absorbed while still running an active home.
This book is wonderful for families, but also is geared for everyone. There are sections devoted to those who are single. At the heart of the book, is the theme that all homes should be houses of prayer. The "Domestic Church" is a church but not a monastery. We should strive to create a Godly atmosphere and work to draw all inhabitants to Heaven, but can obviously not keep the type of schedule of prayer that a cloistered nun would.
A lovely addition to the book is the collection of original icon art work at the back that can be removed, framed, and added to our oratory or used as additional sacred art in the home. They are stunning, I am really looking forward to framing mine. I have reallized that my "oratory" will only be able to house one or two of the icon prints because of my limited space, so I am having a hard time deciding which ones. Which really is a testament to the quality and beauty of the icons, it is nearly impossible to choose just one.
The only part of the book that I felt a little disappointed with was the chapter on the Liturgy of the Hours. I have been trying to figure out this liturgy for awhile now. I purchased a copy of Shorter Christian Prayer and hoped that between that and The Little Oratory, I would know what I was doing, but I still don't. I think that I will need to consult with my priest because I still have many questions. I know that there are wonderful programs online that broadcast the prayers, and I have used them in the past, I just wanted to be able to do it for myself.
I have more book reviews coming, and am still working on getting up some of the Josefina posts (thanks for being patient) but, I have to say this was my favorite book that I have read this summer. If you only have time to read one book this summer, make it The Little Oratory.
**This is an unsolicited review. I, in no way, received any compensation for reviewing the book. Thanks.