"The Benedictine Handbook" on right "Benedictine Daily Prayer" on left
[Click picture to enlarge]An online friend recently asked about Benedictine prayer books and his question serves as a good opportunity to comment on “The Benedictine Handbook.” $25.00.
Although I recommend two other books if you have no prior knowledge of Benedictine oblates, I recommend "The Benedictine Handbook" if you are drawn to becoming an oblate and want a first book to begin a simple divine office in your home and you want to learn about the Benedictine way and its history and place in the world.
“The Benedictine Handbook” has the Rule of St. Benedict (it’s not in the translation I use, but it’s a fine translation). I like Doyle’s translation of the Rule in this beautiful publication of the Rule.
The divine office in “The Benedictine Handbook” is a simple version spanning two weeks for morning and evening offices and there are separate and very simple daytime and compline prayers. There is no vigils.
The Benedictine Handbook is packed with essential Benedictine information as you would expect in a 350-page book bearing the title “handbook.”
Of the features everyone who does not own this book will enjoy is “A Benedictine Who’s Who.” This chapter contains half page biographies of the great Benedictines throughout history — very handy.
WHY BUY THIS BOOK
If you want a first Benedictine prayer book giving an excellent introduction to the fullness of Benedictine life (the very best in my opinion), AND you want to start the divine office in a simple form, this is the book for you.
Then if you enjoy the structure and forms of the divine office, you will have become familiar with the very excellent overview provided by “The Benedictine Handbook” and you will have spent only $25.
When you want more Benedictine divine office, you still will be glad that you have “The Benedictine Handbook” in your library and you will not feel that you wasted your money.
BEYOND "THE BENEDICTINE HANDBOOK"
After you have used “The Benedictine Handbook” for several months you will be able to make up your own mind on whether you want to spend $50 for the "Benedictine Daily Prayer" or $85 for the classic "Monastic Diurnal," or some other book.