Sacred Space: The Prayerbook has been published annually since 2004 and has consistently been one of Messenger Publications’ most popular titles. It is intended as a companion to SacredSpace.ie, the internationally-popular online prayer guide inspired by the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, but can just as easily be used by itself as a guide and prayer companion in its own right.
In the introduction to the book, Brendan McManus SJ outlines the six steps of prayer and reflection that each person is invited to. They are Presence of God, Freedom, Consciousness, The Word, Conversation, and Conclusion. Referring to the first step of coming into the presence of God, he writes:
“There is something profound about when I align my often weak and feeble desire with the great and constant desire that God has for me. It is a small thing but it has an extraordinary effect on prayer; it points us in the right direction and opens up possibility.”
The prayers and reflections are written by members of the Irish Jesuit Province. The book can help deepen the experience of prayer by leading people in a way that is accessible, engaging, and meaningful to daily life today. People can create their own individual space for prayer throughout the year.
Regarding a reflection that accompanies scripture for the First Sunday of Advent, it states:
“Advent is a season of hope and expectation. We are invited to prepare joyfully for the coming of Christ. He comes in history (his conception and birth), in mystery (through the sacraments, and especially the Eucharist), and in majesty (at the Last Day).
The old liturgical year has ended, and the new one has begun, with our calling to mind the Lord’s final coming at the end of time. We look forward to it with happy anticipation, not with fear.”
The prayerbook also includes material from Messenger Publications’ books that introduce each week. Authors include Kieran J O’Mahony OSA, Magdalen Lawler SND, Fr Alan Hilliard, Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ, Catherine McCann, Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, and John Scally.
Sr Magdalen Lawler, for instance, introduces Holy Week by drawing from her book Well of Living Water: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. She writes:
“Icons of Christ usually show him wearing a blue mantle over a red robe. Red signifies his humanity, the colour of the reddish earth from which Adam was made (Genesis 25:25).
His humanity is in essence with his divinity, generally represented as blue… The iconographer invites us to contemplate the resurrection and the offer of eternal life to all people.”
Sacred Space: The Prayerbook 2022 » by the Irish Jesuits is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications. It is priced at €12.95/£11.95.