Here's a bit of news that I've known about for some time, and have been eagerly anticipating sharing with you. Now that the "embargo" has been broken, here goes: Liturgical Press, one of the premier Catholic publishing houses, is launching a new daily prayer resource in August 2011, called Give Us This Day. It's something along the lines of Magnificat and Living with Christ, but with an unmistakable Liturgical Press twist. It's beautifully produced, resolutely mainstream, filled with marvelous features (morning and evening prayers, readings of the day, the prayers of the Mass, and more), grounded in a deep understanding of the liturgy and extremely helpful for any Catholic who wants a deeper prayer life. Now for full disclosure: I'm one of the "advisers" to the project; but frankly I'm just as excited about using it as I am about writing for it. (More full disclosure: I write for and enjoy using Living with Christ, too!) The liturgical blog PrayTell features an interview today with Mary Stommes, the editor of Give Us This Day, which begins as follows:
Pray Tell: LitPress is launching Give Us This Day this August. What is it? A daily devotional, a pocket missal, a Mass guide, or what?
Mary Stommes: The shortest and most accurate answer is that Give Us This Day is “Daily prayer for today’s Catholic.” In some ways, it is easier to say what Give Us This Day is not—or what it is more than. It is not just a Mass guide, and it is more than a daily devotional. Each month’s issue contains the following daily content: prayers for morning and evening, Mass texts, a reflection, a Gospel witness. There is additional weekly and monthly content best described by taking a look inside the pages on our web site. Give Us This Day has the feel of a personal missal, but it is not your mother’s St. Andrew’s Missal (though I have my mother’s missal and am fond of it).
PT: I see all the Mass readings and prayers for Sunday and weekday. But I know someone who worked on the new Order of Mass chants, and they’re not included. Why not?
MS: You will have to introduce me to this Order-of-Mass-chants person. I would tell her that Give Us This Day, while including the Order of Mass and Lectionary texts for each day, is primarily for personal prayer. This is not to say it will not be used in prayer groups, etc., or that people will not use it as a Mass guide for convenience. But most readers, alas, will not be all that interested in chant. (Maybe it would be best not to tell this to the “Order-of-Mass-chants” person.)
PT: Who is Give Us This Day for? Would-be monks, hard-core Catholics, Catholics on the fringe, or who?
MS: All of the above. And more. There is a longing deep and wide for daily spiritual sustenance. We are a hungry people. We want to pray but often do so with fits and starts. We long for “substantive simplicity,” if that makes sense. And we long for communion, with God and with each other. This deep desire, I think, is our response to God’s desires for us. Lots of words to say that Give Us This Day is for those trying day-by-day to respond to God’s love for us in Christ.