Friday, May 4, 2012
7 Catholic Devotional Books I Couldn’t Live Without

A reader recently asked me a very interesting question, "What are the devotional prayer books that you use most often?"  That question started a thought process that has led me to compile this list - 7 Catholic Devotional Books I Couldn't Live Without. 

These are all items on my current book shelf that I use at least weekly (if not daily).  Some are strictly "prayer" books while others are a little more broad in scope.  Regardless, here is my list of the Top 7 Catholic Prayer Books that I use most often.  They are listed in no particular order.

1. Manual of Prayers

This book produced by the Midwestern Theological Forum has been on my shelf for nearly 5 years.  The preface is written by now-Cardinal Dolan.  Used by the students and faculty of the North American College in Rome, this book is considered a must-have for priests and seminarians. It includes an extensive collection of prayers in English, Spanish, Italian, and Latin drawn from the Liturgy and the writings of the saints.  I have used it for the Stations of the Cross each week on Friday as well as for other feastdays.

2. St. Jude Thaddeus: Helper in Desperate Cases and St. Rita: Advocate of the Impossible

Never overlook the power of little prayer booklets.  When I visited Conception Abbey and the nearby Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration (Clyde, MO) in 2006, I picked up a copy of a 10 cent prayer book entitled "St. Jude Thaddeus: Helper in Desperate Cases and St. Rita: Advocate of the Impossible."

I have used this book nearly weekly since then.  In front my home altar (which now has candles dedicated to St. Jude), I recite the prayers to St. Jude mentioned in this little booklet.  The booklet has little sections on How to Obtain the Aid of St. Jude, Devotions in honor of St. Jude, An Explanation of St. Jude's Epistle, and other little sections.  It's a very nice devotional book that I'm very glad to have picked up.

3. Miracle Hour

This little booklet I received way back in 2005 - in fact, it is one of the first devotional books that I ever received as a gift.  "Miracle Hour: A Method of Prayer That Will Change Your Life" by Linda Schubert takes an hour and divides it evenly into 12 forms of prayer.  There is a section for prayers on praise, on signing, on surrender, on forgiveness, on listening to our Lord's voice, on intercessions, thanksgiving, etc.  This nicely structured prayer booklet has accompanied me many times to Eucharistic Adoration.  I recommend it.

4. Chalice of Strength

Chalice of Strength: Prayers for Priests was published in 1996 by Opus Sanctorum Angelorum Gethsemani Adoration Chapel.  Besides the beautiful introduction by Fr. John Hardon, the book contains many prayers to be said for priests.  It includes the Litany of the Precious Blood as prayers composed by Pope John Paul II, Paul VI, and Venerable Pope Pius XII.  It's a very nice 31 page booklet to use during Eucharistic Adoration.

5. Roman Catholic Daily Missal

I said that I was not going to write my top seven in any particular order.  Well, I know that someone is probably still wondering which of these titles I use the most.  And that would be my Roman Catholic Daily Missal (1962) produced by Angelus Press.  I use it daily for the morning/evening prayers, weekly for the Devotions for Confession/Holy Communion, and daily to pray the daily Mass Propers.  No Catholic should be without a copy of this Missal.  Period.


6. Breviary

I have often mentioned that I pray the Breviary throughout the day as my schedule allows.  I strive to say the Divine Office (Divinum Officium) daily.  While I typically will not say any of the nocturns of Matins, I will say the office of Lauds and Vespers.  I will also almost always say Sext and None.  Terce is typically difficult to fit in since I usually say Lauds at 8 AM and I miss 9 AM Terce.  But, on a given week, I'll say Terce 3 times.  Compline I will say occasionally but sometimes omit it from my daily prayers and add in devotions instead.

I use a Breviary that follows the 1962 rules and calendar for Lauds and Vespers.  My prayers at other hours use a Breviary that follows the 1955 rules.  Since my Latin is far from perfect, I use the Morning and Evening Prayers of the Divine Office: Lauds, Vespers, and Compile for the entire year from the Roman Breviary.  It is produced by Benzinger Brothers from 1965. I picked it up at Loomes Books.  I'm uncertain how to recommend buying this one since copies will be hard to find.  But it is great - try to find one.

7. Lives of the Saints

No Catholic bookshelf is complete without a copy of the Lives of the Saints.  I encourage you to research online to find one (if you don't have one) and pick up a copy of Father Hugo Hoever's "Live of the Saints," from which I read daily.  While the book does not include saints canonized in recent years, it is something that I am highly recommending. It is based on the pre-Vatican II calendar so the feastdays will match with the Angelus Press calendar that I recommended earlier.

2 comment(s):

del_button May 5, 2012 at 7:27 AM
Anonymous said...

we need masses ! so many souls make decisions and catholics like me suffer !

it is time for these souls must face the truth ! with masses !

del_button May 15, 2012 at 3:51 PM
Unknown said...

Nice collection of books...and interesting thread to continue! Thanks for sharing on

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