Book Review: The Little Oratory

New book alert!

The Little Oratory--A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home


Even though I am going to try, I simply can’t do justice to the greatness of this work. By David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler, The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home, says everything you need to know about how and why you should make a little oratory/prayer corner/home altar for your domestic church.

The question behind the book is: “How can I be Catholic in between the times when I am worshipping in Church; and especially, how can I be a Catholic at home?”

The authors are in a prime position to answer this question. Both Mr. Clayton and Mrs. Lawler are converts who while growing up missed “a Catholic culture—a life lived in harmony with the Faith.” When they converted, they spent years searching, learning, and studying the traditions and treasures of their new Faith. So for all those Catholics, who, like them, want to truly have a Catholic culture at home, this is the book, this is the guide. In one volume, it explains how to bring the Church’s life of prayer into your own home every day, since the home itself is “a school of virtue and a domestic church.” (Lest any of my readers think this is a book for families only, please know that there is a section in one of the chapters with suggestions for single people. This is a book for everyone!)

The great riches of tradition are yours if you only begin to follow and use the book’s clear and simple ideas and instructions, adapting them to suit the needs of your own family. Besides explaining the beautiful tradition and providing specific ideas for making a “little oratory,” the authors also:

  • tell how we can educate our children in beauty
  • explain how to make the liturgy a part of our lives
  • give ideas for decorating and caring for every room of a Catholic home
  • discuss popular devotions such as the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Sacred Heart
  • encourage us to begin praying the Divine Office (slowly and without stress!)
  • teach us to better pray with Scripture
  • give ideas for adding sacredness to the days of the week and months of the secular year
  • discuss solutions to difficulties and struggles that may come up
  • explore ways to live the Christian spiritual life while at work

(***and Appendix G is all about getting started with Sacred Music! Hurrah!)

The Little Oratory is so simple, clear and beautiful! Besides the “resources” section in the back with even more suggestions and ideas, the book includes eight full-color prints that you can pull out and frame, the originals having been painted by Mr. Clayton himself. Brilliantly providing the images and instructions in one book, the authors have not only made it seem easy, but in fact make it easy to start a little oratory in your home right away.

I’m not the only one to think this book is a treasure—Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Thomas Howard also praise it to the skies, and you can read their reviews here on The Way of Beauty, Mr. Clayton’s own amazing blog.

I’ll close with this thought from the first part of the book, which we at the St. Catherine Catholic Culture Center promote wholeheartedly:

Many parents today search for meaningful ways to convey the richness of the Faith to their children, not realizing that the liturgical year, plain and simple, with the Church, is the best way to teach them.

Don’t wait–buy/borrow and use this beautiful book with your family!


3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Little Oratory

  1. I can hardly wait to read this. It sounds like just what I need. My children are grown and gone but I think, from your review and what I’ve seen online, that it will answer questions and fill in blanks and help me to live a more fully Catholic life.

  2. Pingback: Prayer ‘Draws from Life Its Weariness’ | St. Catherine Catholic Culture Center

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