As with many working Orthodox folks, I try to use the 15 minutes in the morning while I eat toast to read an uplifting section of literature. Now, at 6:00 am, this sinks down into my subconscious mind like crumbs from the toast into the bottom of my tea cup. If you ask me at noon what I had read, 50/50 chance I wouldn’t readily remember. I keep at it with the hopes some of the benefit will ‘stick’ better than jam on my fingers.
My usual reading choice is the Prologue from Ohrid, by St. Nikolai Velimirovich, a profound exposition on the daily Scripture readings and saints. I treasure many of St. Nikolai’s homilies and reflections, as is evidenced with all the flags sticking up from the top of the two volumes. At times, though, I find it a bit too much to digest first thing in the morning. What else could I read that is a smaller tidbit than the Prologue?
Enter A Daily Calendar of Saints by Fr. Lawrence R. Farley, recently released through Ancient Faith Publishing, which generously supplied me with a copy to review. The paperback book is rather simple and straight-forward. Each day there is one or two saints with one or two biographical paragraphs each. That’s it. No homilies or Scripture meditation. The language used to write the biographies is at an accessible level (middle school range) and lends itself well to reading aloud. I thought Fr. Lawrence chose a good range of saints, from well-known to the less familiar. He also had a balance between men and women (though there is always more room for women saints, hint hint.)
I used the book for a solid month before writing this review to see how it would flow with my daily routine. My benchmark was, “Who was the saint for today?” asked at lunchtime. If I could answer it with confidence – then I knew that 5 minutes spent looking at their biography was just enough information for my early morning spiritual multivitamin. I recommend you try it, with a librarian stamp of approval. Rating – 5 Cups of Tea.