Book of the Month: November 2012

‘Encircling the Christian Year: Liturgies and reflections for the seasons of the Church’ by Barbara Mosse (2012)

In her introduction to this engaging work Jane Williams writes that “we have almost forgotten, in our day-to-day life, what it is like to live by patterns and rhythms that come not by choice but by the nature of the reality we live in”.  Barbara Mosse has rectified this by presenting a text which helps  the reader to prayer in a cycle over the entire Christian year.

For each Sunday and many of the major feast days of the year she provides scripture readings, reflections and prayers which express the themes of the seasons and carry the scripture into daily life.  Often prayer becomes a duty when we depart from natural patterns and rhythms, but Encircling the Christian Year helps the reader return to a realization that the seasons contain a cycle which reflects our personal experience in daily life.

The author has chosen the readings from all three of the liturgical years and the book can easily be used by either an individual or a group.  Each entry is designed for  the length  of  time  for significant prayer, but  not so long that it will not fit comfortably into the schedule of a busy life.

Designing one’s prayers around the seasons assists the reader to  pray in ways that are far from artificial since the rhythms of the year become an integral part of one’s response to the word of God in each day’s  selection  the reflections and prayers seem to have a spontaneity which arise from the readings naturally.  Periods of darkness and dryness often frighten one who attempts  regular prayer, but they are natural to seasons such as autumn and winter.  It is this return to the nature of the revolving seasons that is the strongest element of this most practical book .

Reviewed by Br Patrick Moore.

Published by BRF, Encircling the Christian Year is normally priced at £9.99.  Mention the website to order a copy at the special price of £8.99 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until November 30th 2012.

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