Review by Michele Craig
The peace and wonder and awe of the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament…. ooooohhh. The beauty of a Basilica, an exquisite piece of religious art, or an icon revealing the glory of God….aaaaahhh. If only we could bring that peace, wonder, awe and beauty home with us…….
We can! The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home by David Clayton & Leila Marie Lawler with illustrations by Deidre M. Folley (Leila’s daughter)show us how! Not only does this book lead us to develop a deeper prayer life, it helps us to set the stage, so to speak, by creating an oratory in a corner of our home, or…. expanding the sacredness of this little shrine to encompass our entire home – to glorify God with and in our home.
An oratory? David and Leila Marie explain: “With this book, we are interested in reviving the little oratory, as the Catechism calls it (CCC 2691) – prayer table, home altar, or icon corner – in the home. It’s an almost lost tradition that can be a simple and beautiful bridge between these two places – home and church – for the sake of the family’s life of faith – and consequently for this whole project which is the life of the Christian.”
David and Leila Marie explain further: “The thought behind our exploration of all the details of the little oratory in this book is to take this further, to develop this side of family life as a “domestic church.” We want to encourage traditional and personal ways to make a lovely space in our home that is both a space set apart, church-like, and a space that apotheosizes the beauty that we try to express in the rest of the home.”
David and Leila Marie go on to say: “The prayer table is a way to bring the Sunday worship with its deep connection to the eternal into the home, extending it throughout the week, anchoring family life in the Eucharistic celebration. It’s the physical connection between the altar in the church and the altar of the heart.”
The appendices were filled with prayers and applications to this idea of “oratory” and David and Leila Marie’s respective websites were a delight to explore and really added to my enjoyment of this book. Whether your home is filled with people, or you live alone- following the suggestions in The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home will enrich your life. Thank you David and Leila Marie!