One of the books I ordered on Monday arrived yesterday. The book is: The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer.
It really looks like it is going to be a good book and a great tool for mental prayer.
There is one thing that surprised (and, honestly, disapponted) me: The book itself is very small (about 5″x 8″) and the type is SO small. While I am truly excited to have such a great resource, I dread the thought of trying to use something that will be so hard for me to read. My vision just isn’t that great.
I realize that it has nearly 1020 pages and that this was a way to make it somewhat cost effective and portable. That doesn’t change the fact that it is going to be very difficult for me to read. Very difficult. To read a medicine label, just a few words, is one thing. To try to use such small print as a mental prayer guide and manual will be quite different. Maybe one day they’ll sell a larger version or sell each of the gospels separately or something. I hope so.
Most recently, I finished (FINALLY!!) Ralph Martin’s The Fulfillment of All Desire. (it is EXCELLENT and Im going to start it again soon.) It is 500+ pages, so the print is also on the small side. The type in FoAD is probably the smallest I can (mostly) comfortably read, so as you can see, it is going to be a bit of a struggle for me to use The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer. I’m going to try REALLY, REALLY hard, though!
Here is a picture comparing the two
In the Introduction, Fr. Bartunek, LC, writes of the Importance of Personal Prayer. He quotes St. Teresa of Avila and St Alphonsus Ligouri:
He who neglects mental prayer needs not a devil to carry him to hell, but he brings himself there with his own hands.
St Teresa of Avila
It is morally imposible for him who neglects meditation to live without sin
And by experience we see that many persons who recite a great number of vocal prayers, the Office and the Rosary, fall into sin and continue to live in sin. But he who attend to mental prayer scarcely ever falls into sin, and should he have the misfortune of falling into it, he will hardly continue to live in so miserable a state; he will either give up mental prayer, or renounce sin Meditation and sin cannot stand together. However abandoned a soul may be, if she perseveres in meditation, God will bring her to Salvation.
St Alphonsus Ligouri
This book starts with “The Fundamentals of Christian Meditation.” It is there to help instruct you in this type of prayer. This section is very thorough and helpful and is probably worth the price of the book in itself. He discusses types of prayer (and is more than balanced, giving each type its due respect and attention.) He gives the steps to engaging in mental prayer (meditation.) These steps are: Concentrate, Consider, Converse and Commit. He explains each thoroughly. He also discusses difficulties in prayer (and solving them), offers ideas for prepatory and concluding prayers and from there you enter into the Meditation Units that are written for daily use.
The book goes through all 4 Gospels and each section of the Gospel is followed by writings that help us to relate to it in different ways. There are 4 sections following each Gospel passage: the “Christ the Lord”, “Christ the Teacher”, “Christ the Friend” and “Christ in my Life”. At the beginning of each passage, there is also a quote from a Saint that is related to what that gospel contains.
I won’t be able to give more of a personal review until after I’ve used it for a while, but it does look to be excellent and I am looking forward to using it ~ small type notwithstanding!
I know that one reader has and uses this book and really likes it. Anyone else? Anything you’d like to add to this?