Eleanor Bernstein is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph who served for 18 years at the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. She currently ministers at the Magnificat Center for Unity and Reconciliation in Wichita, Kansas.
In the sixteenth century, Teresa of Avila said that "prayer is the mortar that holds the house together." That's clear in this marvelous collection of prayers, which Bernstein has organized into the following sections:
• An Invitation to Pray (addressing God, contemplating God's presence in creation, praying my concerns, and praying my sufferings and struggles)
• An Invitation to Pray the Tradition (the Scriptures, classic Christian prayers, the Gospel canticles, words that invite reflection)
• An Invitation to Pray Together (gestures, words and objects; times of the day)
• An Invitation to Feasts and Seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost)
Bernstein has gathered prayers from ancient to modern times that are keyed to both inner life reflections and the outer life where we are faced with such problems as poverty, homelessness, and violence are rampant. Here is a prayer by St. Augustine on love as the linchpin:
"Give us, O God, a vision of your world as love would make it;
a world where the weak are protected and none go hungry;
a world where benefits are shared, so that everyone
can enjoy them;
a world whose different people and cultures live with tolerance
and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice,
and justice is fired with love;
Lord Jesus Christ, give us the courage to build.
We were impressed with the cogent and caring prayers on migrants, refugees, peace, abolishing the death penalty, and nonviolence.