The writings of the Fathers of the Church have never been more widely available, yet obtaining an exhaustive and user-friendly volume of patristics can still be a daunting task. Without realizing it, many priests, seminarians, members of religious communities, and even laity already own a patristic library-their Liturgy of the Hours.
In the four volumes of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official daily prayer of the Catholic Church, there are nearly 600 selections from the writings of Fathers and saints. Seeing the potential of this vast collection as a theological resource, Milton Walsh has organized these selections by topics according to the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This topical concordance allows the reader to compare what the various authors have written on the same themes, while a chronological timeline of the readings shows their relationship to each other in time.
Walsh has also provided background on the liturgical celebrations of the Church, as well as historical information on each author. In addition, there is a chapter on how patristic readings can assist in understanding the Bible.
This fresh and original presentation of material that is literally at the fingertips of anyone praying the Liturgy of the Hours can be a tremendous aid to both religious devotion and theological study.
Milton Walsh holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. For many years he taught theology at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, and from 1989 to 1997 was pastor of St. Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco. He is the author of In Memory of Me: A Meditation on the Roman Canon and Second Friends: C. S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation.
"Recently the Holy Father devoted time in each of his Wednesday audiences to explaining to the pilgrims who came to Rome the importance of the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the saints in the life of each believer today. Pope Benedict taught them that the true teaching of the Church is not "invented by intellectuals," it is not something that "goes beyond the Church's simple faith." No. The true Gospel is the one imparted by the Bishops, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, who have received this teaching in an uninterrupted line from the apostles. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Milton Walsh who, in his collection Witness of the Saints, has painstakingly arranged important quotations from the patristic lectionary of the Prayer of the Hours (Office of Readings) in such a way that this treasure of the writings of the Fathers and saints that both inspires and informs is now conveniently and immediately accessible to all. Preachers, teachers, parents - all of the faithful who desire to drink from the fountain of true wisdom and to share this life giving nourishment with others will want to keep this volume close at hand. Witness of the Saints is a valuable tool to help all of us "think with the Church" (sentire cum Ecclesia), after the heart and mind of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI."
- Father Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B.
"As usage of the Liturgy of the Hours increases among members of the Church, Witness of the Saints: Patristic Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours provides a timely exposition of the rich heritage available in the Church's Prayer. A concise, informative, and well written history of the Liturgy of the Hours serves as introduction to a valuable selection of passages from the Fathers and the saints, taken from the Office of Readings and arranged in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We can be most grateful to Milton Walsh for this outstanding volume of invaluable resources that will enlighten and inspire readers for years to come."
- Abbot Gregory J. Polan, O.S.B.
"We never pray alone. When we pray, we are in heaven with the Fathers and the saints. They are our contemporaries and our close companions. This book opens our eyes, hour after hour, to that splendid reality. Working with the saints, Milton Walsh can change the way you experience the Church's prayer."
- Mike Aquilina
"The Office of Readings is one of the deepest treasures in the Church's liturgical prayer, but one of the least appreciated. Who are the people who wrote these reflections? Didymus the Blind? Faustinus Luciferanus? John the Serene of Naples? Hedwig? Gertrude? Milton Walsh introduces you to these people as if he has been friends with them for years. He has. And now so can you."
- Fr. Paul Turner, Former President of the North American Academy of Liturgy