A new monthly publication from the Liturgical Press (a service of the Benedictine monks of St. John’s Abbey, of which I am an oblate): Give Us This Day that I thought our blog readers and/or contributors might be interested in.
The idea is to provide resources to help connect the liturgy to daily life. Here’s how they describe it:
A new, personal prayer periodical from Liturgical Press-a trusted publisher of liturgy, Scripture, and spirituality founded by the Benedictines of Saint John’s Abbey in 1926.
Deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition, Give Us This DayTM is about prayer-praying daily, praying well, praying with confidence.
Give Us This DayTM supports your desire to establish prayer as a part of your life, enhancing your existing practices and deepening your encounter with God by providing:
- A practical approach to daily prayer
- Prayers and readings for daily Mass
- Daily prayer, Morning and Evening
- A reflection on the Scriptures for each day
They have a great editorial board lined up as well, including: Kathleen Norris, James Martin, bishop Morneau, Irene Nowell, Timothy Radcliffe, and Ronald Rolheiser.
You can also request a free sample – I just requested mine.
“Magnificat” is the killer app of hand missals, and it’s simply beautiful and superb, full of good features and the best and most interesting of spiritual writing and art masterpieces. Just an extraordinarily well done publication. I thought, I bet this new one is much less expensive than Magnificat, but I went and looked and it’s NOT, it’s about the same price actually ($40 for 12 issues, vs Magnificat $44 for 13 issues). It closely copies the features offered in Magnificat but not nearly as beautiful as Magnificat and the editorial board are not names I associate with the greatest fidelity and the best of spirituality. For the price, someone should just subscribe to Magnificat.
I’m writing a review of over 60 devotionals (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) and I’m guessing that Give Us This Day will make my “Top Ten” list, besting Magnificat. The reason for “guessing”: I’m not going to pass judgment until I’ve seen a few issues, although I may give a tentative review after seeing the first (August 2011) issue.
For the record, I subscribe to Magnificat and have received it for several years. No question, the artwork is fantastic — and Give Us This Day doesn’t appear to be nearly as beautiful as Magnificat. But this is a secondary (actually, a tertiary) consideration for me; for me, substance is what matters the most.
One key point of differentiation is in the daily reflections. Well, have you ever noticed that Magnificat reflections often have almost nothing to do with the lectionary and liturgical readings, making a passing reference at best? Honestly, the reflections in Living Faith Kids (yes, the “Kids” edition) are better than the reflections in Magnificat. And from what I’ve seen on the Give Us This Day online preview, their reflections are far superior AND more relevant to the daily readings than the reflections in Magnificat. Look, if you want to read the Church fathers, then simply read the daily (and free) second reading of the Office of Readings, http://www.universalis.com/readings.htm . No need to look further.
If art is your key concern, go with Magnificat. If substance is your key concern, go with Give Us This Day.
Tentatively, here are my “winners”:
Best overall daily devotional: WordLive (a free online British Protestant daily, often with videos, poems, commentary, and in both “Classic” and “Alt” formats). See http://www.wordlive.org/Session .
Best family devotional: Living Faith Kids (Catholic; paid, print only). There is often more wisdom to be found in the Living Faith Kids reflections than from any other devotional. And, I do NOT like their “adult” version, Living Faith. But LFK is extraordinary.
Best spiritual devotional: Give Us This Day (Catholic, paid, web and print). And my second choice may NOT be Magnificat, but Reflections for Daily Prayer (Anglican; paid, print only as an annual book); however, Reflections for Daily Prayer focuses on the Monday-Saturday morning readings only.
Best life applications devotional: Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria (a free daily e-mail from Joel Osteen; he’s the head of the largest megachurch in America). The knee-jerk reaction may be to laugh at this choice. Don’t, at least not until you’ve tried it. If you’d prefer to avoid site registration, you can view their devotionals at this site: http://todayswordnetwork.blogspot.com/ .
Best Bible study: Daily Bible Study (United Methodist Church; paid, print only), with a nod to Tabletalk (Reformed tradition; paid, print only, but their equivalent to daily reflections are published online and freely accessible). Sadly, I haven’t found any good Catholic or Orthodox daily Bible studies. (Let me repeat: I have not found any GOOD studies.) But DBS and Tabletalk cover, in many ways, the Protestant spectrum from Wesleyans to Calvinists. Let’s be honest: When it comes to Bible study, Protestants do it better! Last point on daily Bible study: Use DBS with David C. Cook NIV Bible Lesson Commentary. This Commentary is the weekly/Sunday lesson and the DBS readings correspond directly to the Commentary weekly lessons. (They’re all part of the Uniform Series, that’s why they match, even though they’re from different publishers and have slightly different Protestant orientations.)
Best daily podcast: The Path (Orthodox; free, RSS and streaming). Yes, it’s better than Pray-As-You-Go.
Best devotional in multiple languages: The Upper Room and Our Daily Bread (tie). Both are Protestant; The Upper Room is Methodist (Wesleyan).
Best devotional reference: In Conversation with God (Catholic), followed closely by The Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox: Daily Scripture Readings and Commentary for Orthodox Christians (Orthodox, as the title implies).