ASK FATHER: Manual of life

From a reader…


Would my Baltimore Catechism No 4 and the Sacred Liturgy be best as a layman as my manual for daily life? I ask because I’m wondering if I should carry both my Catechism and my 1962 Missal with me wherever I go.

You are off to a good start with those, I think.  Very good and relatively portable.

Keeping in the vein of portability, there are any number of small devotional books with prayers and meditations, etc., for personal use.  There used to be a zillion of these little gems.  I always watched for them in used books stores.   They vary widely on account of age, and sex and spiritual inclination.

For example, and this is not a hard and fast recommendation – everyone is a little different – as I turn my head to the left towards a line up of books, pending and otherwise, among them is the diminutive prayer book by Preserving Christian Publications called

Blessed Be God

It has flexible imitation leather (the cover extends out so that it’ll protect the pages), a ribbon, gold-edged pages and it fits in the palm of your hand. Inside are the many prayers and novenas, readings from the Imitation of Christ, the texts of the Mass and certain Votive Masses, and the readings for Sunday and Holy Day Masses. It could easily go into a pocket.

There are any number of these precious little jewels of faith and devotion.  It could be a nice gift, too, come to think of it.

However, your question also made me think instantly if a classic by Frank Sheed:

A Map of Life: A Simple Study of the Catholic Faith

This is not only a summary of the Catholic Faith but also a way to clarify one’s purpose in life.   Sheed was a brilliant writer.

Also, for different reasons, and depending on one’s vocational state, this could also help one as part of a “tool box” for life:

The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods


I don’t want to burden your EDC (“every day carry”), so I will stop there.

Oh yes… Rosary, for sure.  Perhaps Brown Scapular and Medal of Our Lady of Graces (the Miraculous Medal).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    “I don’t want to burden your EDC (“every day carry”), so I will stop there.”

    If I may be so bold as to interject my opinion, a great way to balance bibliophilia and convenience is to purchase a Kindle. I really can’t praise it enough. And the whole host of free books available through both Google and makes it worth every penny spent.

  2. Mitchell says:

    Another good book is this one called the Bible.

  3. Pingback: ASK FATHER: Manual of life | Fr. Z’s Blog – The Old Roman

  4. Julia_Augusta says:

    “My Prayer Book” by Fr. Lasance. I carry this book with me on all my travels and I travel only with carry-on bags.

  5. Benjamin Turner says:

    The monks at Clear Creek sell an extremely compact monastic diurnal, i.e. the full Divine Office except Matins. Doesn’t quite fit in a jacket pocket, but does fit in the smallest briefcase, backpack, even a large overcoat.

    They also carry the Little Office of Our Lady, which is even more compact, and much easier to memorize bits of, for your upcoming Gulag stay. I had always assumed this was kind of a lame cop-out ‘office’, probably from the ’50s, and was recently delighted to discover how gravely I had erred. It’s very old and beautiful, and has enjoyed quasi-Liturgical status in many times and places. Great article on it in the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent. And I think Prof. Kwasniewski has written about it too, but I don’t have time to check.

  6. Ave Maria says:

    I keep “Blessed Be God” in my car so I have it always handy for Mass or holy hour.

  7. Thank you, Father.

    I bought a copy of Blessed Be God. Funny thing you mention The Intellectual Life. A copy sits on my desk at home.

  8. GHP says:

    Hi Fr.Z!!

    I just ordered the faux leather volume using your Amazon link.

    — Guy

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