No more teasing!
I can now reveal the project I’ve been working on for almost a year!
It’s called The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home. An exciting book! In the sense of being about something old, not at all flashy, and very peaceful and accessible! Coming soon! (On the publisher’s website it says March 25, so hopefully that will be it.)
A little background: I’ve mentioned my friend David Clayton here before. David is an artist known for his gorgeous icons. He has a knack for bringing the sacred into the daily life of the ordinary person.
He and I have been talking about such things for a couple of years now, and I had emailed him a list of goals I had for a workshop for helping the families of our parish make a little prayer table in their home — with the idea that this simple element can be the link between the family and the Church — a real help in the journey of faith. I wanted his opinion about my approach.
Here at Like Mother, Like Daughter, we’ve been talking bit by bit about this same thing — about order and wonder, about the rhythms of nature and the family and the Church (you can find all the categories on the sidebar) — how nourishing it all is — how peaceful-in-the-midst-of-turmoil-even. So you know what I mean.
David quickly replied to my email about the prayer table workshop — “I’m writing a book with a similar thrust — want to write it together?”
Why yes — yes I do!
So we did.
This is more scary than I thought it would be — telling you all about it.
I find that I only have enough energy for one creative thing at a time — if I talk too much about it, somehow I get drained. I didn’t want to hype things along the way, because I wanted my energy to go into working with David (and Deirdre!) to produce something that will last and be helpful. Whether we pulled that off, I don’t know. But we gave it our best shot.
I do want you to know that this book has amazingly turned out to be just that kind of book I personally would want to read. As I’ve been hinting a bit, it’s not the book I need to write (and would also like to read) — the one about the practical aspects of taking care of the home, devoting yourself to your family, cleaning and cooking with a right good and hearty will, managing your household, disciplining your kids, and in general being a woman. It’s not the “blog” book.
Yet, in many ways this book is a version of all that. I have come to see the value of having a physical center to the home. In the end, a certain quiet openness in our hearts is what will open the door to hearing God’s will for us. The Little Oratory is a simple way to make that possible.
It’s about the importance of the home as the “school” of prayer life, the domestic church that connects the faith to the universal Church. It’s about your role in making your home a sanctuary, including putting a physical manifestation of that idea in the form of a little prayer table — and the practical ways to make one.
It’s also very encouraging in what David is passionate about: the universal prayer of the Church — praying the Liturgy of the Hours. For me, having a million choices can be daunting. I always feel I’m forgetting something. It’s very consoling to know that I can pray along with the Church and be assured of not missing anything, ever. So this book is a way to allow Holy Mother Church to guide you in your own deepest prayer life.
And all that will build the culture, which I think we all see we need to do.
BUT– there’s more. This book is astonishingly affordable — under $20. It’s over 300 pages and it’s that nice almost-square quality paperback kind of book that will look great on a table.
It will be accessible to everyone. And in it you will, after all, find tips for getting your kids to pray along with you (including the Rosary), for hospitality, even for keeping things clean. LMLD stuff.
And — I hope you will be excited by something I think is unique — this book is actually a little kit for the little oratory!
David’s icons — seven of them in full color! — will be included in a form that you can take out and frame for your own prayer table. I have never heard of anything like that. His art is so beautiful that I can’t believe how accessible — literally — it will be. I’m thinking that it will be a fruitful gift for any family… just imagine having something to give a young family baptizing their first child or getting married or asking you how to live the liturgical year in a sane but rich way.
Sorry to go on and on, but I do have more to tell you. I guess I’ve been keeping this all hush-hush for so long that now it’s bursting out — so bear with me!
Our very own Deirdre has contributed many drawings in the text. Without the drawings, I think the writing wouldn’t come alive. With them, it’s so homey yet inspirational.
In fact, the cover is a combination of Deirdre’s art — the drawing of the prayer table –and David’s — the icon. It’s a little hint of the content within — lofty and accessible. There are even full-size black and white pages for your kids to color, from David.
I hope you like this book. It’s very much a combined effort of the two of us, David and I, with Deirdre’s wonderful drawings. You will recognize my voice, I think, in there — and you will hear his as well. I am so grateful to Sophia Institute Press for having the vision for this book.
I’m not exactly sure when it will come out (probably not February 25, as the Amazon page says), but I needed to tell you about it! I can no longer keep still! You can pre-order it on Amazon.
Thank you, thank you for being my readers. I can’t tell you how it’s helped me understand how I — insofar as I am able –can express what the family needs to hear.
And now I can start working on that other book!