This is one of the projects I have been working on over the past year. I have co-written a book called The Little Oratory - A Beginners Guide to Family Prayer , which will be published in April by Sophia Press. It is a both a simple how-to book about prayer in the home and in the family; and it is a why-to as well - want you understand why as well as what!
I have written it with Leila Lawler, whose entertaining and brilliant blog Like Mother, Like Daughter (likemotherlikedaughter.org) I have long admired. She offers both practicality and piety in right measure and all her experience and insights of managing a home as a mother and, more recently grandmother, have added great wisdom.
We explain, for example, how to make an icon corner and supply many color plates of the appropriate images so that you can detach and frame them beautifully for your home. We also explain why this is encouraged - referring all the time to the Catechism and the documents of the Church. And we help you to pray with it as a family when you are busy also with everything else going on in the home. The prayer we offer gives a strong emphasis to the Liturgy of the Hours and we explain why the Church recommends this worship so strongly.
I have painted the color plates for example St Michael the Archangel and the Veronica Cloth (see below) and additionally a dozen or so line drawings of the Transfiguration (below)and the Presentation. The line drawings can be removed as well, or photocopied and used to teach your children to draw through coloring in and copying - this will help to inculturate them. As well as the paintings and line drawings of sacred art by myself, there are wonderful illustrations by Deirdre Foley. She has done a wonderful job and through her work she has helped us to show you what we mean, as well as tell you!
It is written with the hope that through the spread of a liturgical piety in the home, the family will become once again the driving force for cultural renewal. Keeping a faithful prayer life with your family isn’t easy. From herding distracted children to managing the seemingly endless litany of prayers and devotions, our spiritual life all too often feels frantic and burdensome. But this isn’t the way it should be. Our prayer life, our family life, and our work life should — and can! — be in harmony. When they are, our family is a powerhouse of grace, and Our Lord transforms our home into a little Eden —a little bit of heaven on earth. We hope that this book will help to bring peace to your home by integrating your family into the calm, truly joyful way of Mother Church. Her feasts and seasons, prayers and devotions are gifts that draw us closer to God and unfold before us His marvelous plan of salvation.
We want to encourage prayer that engages the whole person, so as well as visual prayer we want to encourage vocal prayer, and ideally this means chant. We even give simple tips on how to start to sing prayers when you are unused to doing so or think you are tone deaf. We work on the motto that if you can bear to listen to yourself in the shower, then you are good enough to sing your praises!
We include such things as. . .
- How to use sacred art to strengthen your prayer life.
- How to extend Catholic beliefs and devotions into every room of the house.
- Why the Liturgy of the Hours is important and how it can make your family holy.
- How to pray the Rosary with children—and keep the rowdiest of them calm and reverent.
- The active role children can —and should—play in the prayer life of the family
- What to do when only one parent takes the spiritual life seriously.
- How to overcome the feeling that you’re too busy to pray.
- Practical ways to extend the liturgical life into your workplace.
I'll keep you posted when the book is released. You can pre-order on Amazon here ( fyi Sophia Press are projecting an April publication not a February publication as Amazon states).