THERE are moods and seasons with nearly all of us, when the use of some manual of devotion in our preparation for Confession or Holy Communion is recognized not merely as a help but almost as a necessity. No doubt our best prayers are those which are said in our own words, and which are merely the outpourings of a heart already filled to overflowing. Both in the flood-tide of consolation and in the desolate forlornness of any grievous spiritual trial, the worshipper prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament is in no humour to avail himself of set forms of words. In the one case his whole soul is ringing with a canticle of praise and thanksgiving, in the other he can only reiterate that exceeding bitter cry for which our Blessed Saviour in His Passion has given us both the example and the warrant. But between these two extremes there are many intermediate states. There are hours of spiritual aridity and there are hours of physical lassitude. There are times when we are worried or distracted, or, it may be, tempted; and there are occasions when we feel the danger of falling victims to routine, and when a temporary change of method seems desirable, if only for variety's sake. Under such circumstances, spiritual writers recommend that even those who normally and on principle accustom themselves to speak to God like children in their own simple language, should try to rouse themselves from Their lethargy by adopting for a while the words and ideas of a printed book of devotion. It seems obvious that, for such a purpose, the brighter and fresher the thoughts to which we turn as a corrective to our own dulness the better. There is, generally, no great relief from monotony to be found in our old-fashioned prayerbooks, and in tnany of the devotional manuals translated from foreign languages, there is often so much which irritates and palls that the book proves a distraction rather than a help. The prayers which are printed in this little collection of suggestions are all original, and they have the charm of simplicity and of a certain directness of language which many will find helpful. Those who are acquainted with the author's previous book, called First communion, and with the short collection of prayers for First Communicants which accompanied it, will probably give a very hearty welcome to any other contribution from the same pen. Although these "suggestions by way of preparation and thanksgiving" are intended primarily for the use of Religious, it is thought that they may perhaps be found useful by other pious souls who are in the habit of communicating frequently.
Father Thurston SJ, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1483942031, ISBN 13: 9781483942032