Recent books in brief

Recent books in brief

Sacred Space: The Prayerbook (Messenger Publications, €14.95/£12.95) 

A sure sign that the year is beginning to draw to an end is the early appearance of Sacred Space: The Prayerbook, the manual derived from the astonishing, globally popular online prayer site. This book has been appearing for many years and is always a sure-fire option for many as a Christmas present if such a thing can be mentioned at the moment with the children only just back in class, and the colleges only warming up, but in good time for the opening of the new liturgical year on the first Sunday in December.

The material in the book derives from the website, and provides reading material for every day. There is the Scripture reading, points of reflection, as well as a weekly topic, all intended to facilitate the readers conversations with God. Long recognised as a good thing, it is well worth buying.


The Word is Near You: on your lips and in Your Heart: Reflections on the Weekday Readings for the Liturgical Year 2023-24, by Fr Martin Hogan (Messenger Publications, €19.95/£18.95)

Fr Hogan is presently a curate in Finglas West, and so on a daily basis is faced with the trials of life in a modern urban society. He knows what ‘real life’ is like. His emphasis is on what we can find for ourselves in the scriptures, particularly the Gospel, “that the Word of God resides deep with those open to receive it when we listen to it, we are listening to the Lord speaking to us from deep within our heart”.

Unlike the book above, this is not a collection of the readings, but a commentary on them. By supposing the readers are already in possession of the texts, he uses all his space to explicate them.

But he is very concise in what he writers. He tries always to be to the point, there is no often confusing information overload. By getting his readers to concentrate their attention on the actual words of Jesus himself in the gospels he avoids all those other issues of who is telling us all this. For Fr Hogan it is not the commentator, but the man of destiny himself.