Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thus says My Husband...and He's right

"Why doesn't the Church publish just the second readings from the Office of Readings as spiritual reading for everyone?  What could be better?"

Thus spoke Bill this morning after we both exclaimed over the the letter of St. Elizabeth Seton  that appears in today's OOR.

He is so right. A quick look at the catalogs of several major Catholic publishers show that there must a good market for daily devotionals that consist in short readings from various saints and notable Catholic writers, one reading for each day of the year. I've received review copies of dozens of these. St. Therese, St. Teresa, John of the Cross, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Imitation of Christ, Thomas Merton, GK Chesterton, St.Benedict, Padre Pio, and St. Thomas Aquinas are just a few whose work has been edited into volumes of daily readings for either a year, a month, for Advent, or for Lent.

And these are wonderful books.

But wouldn't it be better (in general) for someone seeking this type of daily reading to read what has to be the Best of the Best, the daily readings from the saints, fathers and doctors which the Church has already decided are pre-eminently  worth reading? Not to mention already coordinated with the feasts and seasons of the Liturgical year?

It would doubtless be like a labor of Hercules to approach the Bishop's committee for Worship to get permission to publish a volume of just the second readings (there are miles of copyright red tape involved here, unfortunately). But maybe I'll start finding out how and whom to approach. It would be so worth it to have these readings available in an inexpensive volume from Our Sunday Visitor or Servant or Ignatius Press.

In the meantime, any of you who don't have time for the full Office of Readings--you all know where to find these wonderful readings online if you don't own a 4-volume breviary. Wouldn't this be a superb and do-able New Year's resolution: Just the second reading.


  1. I was thinking almost the same thing. I'd like a book with the first and second readings. At home I use Magnificat and the breviary, which is fine but not if I'm traveling.

  2. Sometimes I read the regular 2nd reading and the Memorial/Solemnity etc. even when I don't have to. I agree - a book like that would be worth the money!

  3. I would think the first and second which would take people through quite a bit of Scripture, but might end up too big. Maybe even if they just did the Scripture citation? I like Magnificat for traveling because they have the same idea--saints, popes, spiritual masters. There are other missalette magazines--one that just started and Word Among Us, but the reflections are from the group of editors, which I don't like. I mean, they're nice, but not nearly as deep as the ones in the breviary or Magnificat.

  4. It was the second readings that got me to make the jup from the one volume Christian prayer to the four volume Liturgy of the Hours. Sadly, it's been a long time since I've prayed them regularly. I'm really feeling the lack of afternoon quiet time.