From its beginnings, Benedictinism has touched the lives of many people beyond those who dwell in monasteries. For those looking for an everyday grounding in Benedictine spirituality and who wish to pray according to the Benedictine style of Liturgy of the Hours, Work of God is an ideal resource.
While written primarily for Benedictine oblates, this simple yet elegant prayerbook also gives the unfamiliar user a starting place from which to progress into a more intense practice. Largely a two-week arrangement of morning and evening prayer, it also contains essays that provide a broad introduction to monastic spirituality and its relevance for non-monastics.
Work of God relies substantially on the ICEL psalms. The psalms for each day include at least one of those which Benedict recommended for the liturgical hour. The closing prayer for each liturgy is linked through words and images to some concept or quotation in the Rule, thus providing more of a connection to Benedictine spirituality. Each day's liturgy includes a short reading and the New Testament canticle, so there's no need to turn from one section to another.
Work of God is not an official manual, but rather a convenient alternative to the multiple liturgy books used in some communities, the Roman Breviary, or more general or abbreviated office books. Beautifully bound with gilt-edged pages and one ribbon marker, it is a handsome addition to any bookshelf.
Those who live in the spirit of St. Benedict are always alert to God. The opening word of the Rule, "listen," is its essence. One listens first of all to the words of Scripture which teach God's way. Work of God helps the pray-er allow the Word to speak within the self in an environment of silence and solitude.
Essays by Sutera are "The Life and the Spirit of St. Benedict," "Benedictinism and the World Around It: The Oblate Movement," and "Praying the Liturgy of the Hours." Irene Nowell, OSB, contributes the essay "Praying the Psalms." Other chapters are "Week IEvening and Morning Praise," "The Practice of Lectio," "Thoughts from the Rule of St. Benedict," "Some Benedictine Prayers," "The Medal and the Cross of St. Benedict," "Week IIEvening and Morning Praise," "Major Feasts of the Church Year," "Common for Feasts of Christ," "Common for Feasts of Mary," "Common of Apostles and Martyrs," "Common of Holy Men and Women," and "Compline (Night Prayer)."