In this first week of Septuagesima, I wish to share with you a few devotional books which could be great assistants to prayer for the upcoming Lenten season.
The Divine Office
This is the Church's official liturgical prayer, and is prayed by all priests, deacons, and religious of the Roman Rite. I personally pray the Divine Office using the 1961 Diurnale Romanum. This is the “Daytime” hours of the 1961 Breviary. This includes all hours of the day, except Matins, the equivalent to the modern Office of Readings. If you like Matins, you can pick up a full copy of the 1961 Breviarium Romanum. If you still prefer prayers in English, you can pray the highly revised Liturgy of the Hours. These all exist to fulfill St. Paul’s idea of praying unceasingly. The “hours” coincide with times of the day so your day can be filled with prayer. Even if you only can pray Lauds and Compline, that is, Morning and Night prayer, I promise the recitation of the Divine Office will be an amazing aide to your Lenten prayer routine.
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
For those who do not want to fuss with the rubrics and propers of days and seasons of the Divine Office, the Little Office is a great alternative. This much smaller book of the hours has much simpler rubrics and shows each prayer side-by-side with an English translation for those who do not know Latin. The hours of the Little Office are also shorter than that of the full Divine Office, which can become tedious to those who do not already have a strong prayer routine.
Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity by Fr. Chad Ripperger
These are prayers derived from the prayers of Exorcism for priests, published in one edition by renowned exorcist, Fr. Chad Ripperger. These are highly recommended especially for those who believe they may suffer from Demonic oppression or obsession. This book was published also for use by the Auxilium Christianorum, a group of associates to Fr. Ripperger’s order of exorcists.
Meditations and Devotions by St. John Henry Cardinal Newman
St. Newman was a strong Catholic leader in England in the 19th Century. After leaving the Church of England in 1845, he was received into the Catholic Church and ordained a priest. In 1879, he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal in response to his tireless efforts of building the Catholic Church in England. This book is divided into 3 parts. The first and second consist of vocal prayers, including litanies and Stations of the Cross, written by the Saint. The third part of the book holds longer meditations on Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers. St. Newman expressed dogmatic theology through each of these meditations, pulling from his own reflections on the Church Fathers.
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament by St. Alphonsis Ligouri
For those who desire a smaller book they can easily take with them places, Visits to the Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful choice. With a long list of prayers in a small form factor, it is a great daily prayer book. Included are 31 meditations on the love of the Eucharist by the Saint himself, a daily “Visit to Our Lady” prayer asking Our Blessed Mother for protection and help, and an “Act of Spiritual Communion” for those days we cannot receive the Holy Eucharist ourselves.
There are many books of prayer, published by many publishers, but this is a small list of those which I find to be helpful in my own prayer life, and an aide to building my own prayer routine. Please consider working toward your own daily prayer routine for this Lent, and I promise you will not regret it.
Deus, qui per immaculátam Vírginis Conceptiónem dignum Filio tuo habitáculum præparásti: súpplices a te quǽsumus; ut, eiúsdem Vírginis Apparitiónem celebrántes, salútem mentis et córporis consequámur.