Book Review: Manners in God's House - First Prayers and First Missal by Neumann Press

When my daughter was in preschool I purchased this wonderful book for her, Manners in God's House.  This was her first missal.  From this helpful start her imagination was captivated and her attention was riveted.  During the week we would read together and ponder the images and words.  She was taught to see the forms of liturgical expression in relation to the rest on Sunday mornings.  It has been said the deeper levels of human consciousness often go back to early childhood education.  Also, that children's books should be compelling to the parent.  This book gives a sense of spiritual center and spiritual community for kids that plays a crucial role as a foundation for lifetime love of the liturgy.  

The book is actually a compilation of three small booklets that were originally published under separate covers in the 1950's.  The original publisher was the Catechetical Guild Education Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.  As a side note, in my youth I knew priests and laymen who were many years ago involved with this once great organization.  It is nice to see these treasures reprinted under one cover, being placed in the hands of a new generation of parents as first educators.  The text is by nuns and a priest with illustrations by three separate artists.  This new edition was released in 2013 by our good friends at the Neumann Press, an imprint of TAN Books

As the secular order increases, these teaching tools become of more and more value.  Today it is almost impossible for parents to teach their kids the quietness and stillness of the liturgy in a digital world where silence no longer exists.  Meanwhile, serious Catholics have become in some ways just another religious minority, seeking to preserve a tiny bit of cultural autonomy and even the right to exist.  Books like this give parents the tools they need to teach their young children at home in a sprit of unity and continuity with one-on-one attention while explaining incrementally the spirituality of the liturgical arts.  

As I have oft said, the Classical Rite is easy to teach to kids.  This is largely because it manifests easier the transcendence of the divine order.   The EF prevents the liturgy from drifting aimlessly, anchoring it again and again securely to absolute immutable principles, beauty and order and logic that are beyond the reach of criticism.  The text and illustrations of the book help to convey this sense to young readers while parents, too, can learn from the material.  

Parents and educators are encouraged to purchase this fine book and make it available to kids of all ages.  I also encourage moms and dads to read with their kids.  A book is of little use until parents embrace it with enthusiasm and read to their kids.  Parents would do well to read the text often with their kids while explaining the illustrations and drawing parallels with Sunday Mass.  For busy parents with toddlers, it also helps to keep a copy or two in the car to remember to bring for Sunday Mass.  The book also makes a great present for birthdays, holidays or first reception of the sacraments.  The price per copy is $16.95.  To purchase see here.   

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