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3 Gift-worthy books to enhance prayerful adoration in church or at home

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“O come let us adore him” is an all-year idea for Catholics, and these books can help

O Come All Ye Faithful is a beloved hymn sung from Christmas through Epiphany, but for Catholics, the invitation to adoration is one that can be made whenever a parish schedules Benediction, or a 40 Hours Devotion, or — if some are lucky enough to have a Perpetual Adoration chapel in the neighborhood, literally any time, day or night.

We try to seek out Christ always, and in all circumstances, of course — in that way we are all rather like Magi — but seeking out a moment for adoration in the True Presence of Christ is a practice and a blessing that is peculiar in its focus and direction.

And yet, even those who make a regular practice of adoration, or who simply make a visitation to Christ in the tabernacle (or do so interiorly, while in a quiet corner of their homes), can be in need of something to help the prayer along, or bring the mind around to it. Any of these three books could help to that purpose:

Manual for Eucharistic Adoration, by The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, edited by Dr. Paul Thigpen

This little leather-bound book is, as stated, a prayer manual developed by the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration for the use of contemplative nuns who spend long hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. As such it is loaded with material. It gives a background on adoration and guidelines to practicing it, and teaching on adoration from councils and popes, but it is not principally that (and in any case, none of this is dry or pedantic; it is all quite accessible). There are wonderful Eucharistic meditations written by saints, helpful quotes that lend themselves to lectio divina, and a very full treasury of prayers and litanies that can assist an adorer as he or she is settling into an hour’s prayer, and bring them more deeply into worship. This gives a very comprehensive assist to an adorer, wherever he or she may be, and is made to last through years, even decades, of use.

ICONS: The Essential Collection by Sister Faith Riccio, CJ

We all know that people have many different ways of learning, and they have different ways of praying too. For many, the act of prayer and adoration is enriched when an a traditional icon — a “holy window” into heaven — is part of their prayer environment. This book, with a foreword by Orthodox writer Frederica Mathewes-Green, puts these icons into one’s hands and helps one to see, to read, and to use them in order to draw nearer to Christ, and closer to heaven. Presenting icons depicting the Holy Trinity, the Pantocrator, the Theotokos, John the Forerunner, various saints and scriptural events (The Annunciation, The Nativity, The Transfiguration), the book gives the reader biblical citations, brief meditations, insights, and icons (in fullness and in detail) that all work together to make this book a useful enhancement to meditation and adoration. It really does pull you in.

Three Kings, Ten Mysteries: The Secrets of Christmas and Epiphany by Grzegorz Górny
One of the nice things about being Catholic is that, if we are praying the Rosary daily, we are continually being brought back to meditation as we encounter the Joyful Mysteries. So we will frequently find ourselves pondering the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Nativity during April showers, or humid summer days, and so forth. Because that’s true, this beautifully-wrought book, just released by Ignatius Press, is a gift that can end up being a companion to our prayer and our adoration. This thorough examination of the “Three Kings” and the world which they inhabited, full of mystery, danger, wonder, and awe, is something of a history-book-as travelogue that can help focus and inform the mind. It is also loaded down with gorgeous photographs and works of art that will draw you into natural contemplation.

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