I love a beautiful book.  And A Year With the Church Fathers is certainly beautiful, with its gilded pages, its ribbon marker, its beautiful art, its presentation page!  I could smell the soft leather when I tore the wrapper off the package.

I found the meditations easy to read and understand.  Author Mike Aquilina explains how he arrived at the very clear, easily accessible translations:

“The meditations are taken from classic translations of the Fathers.  I’ve modernized the language to make it more readable, referring back to the original languages when necessary.  Because rhetorical styles have changed radically over the centuries, sometimes I’ve reduced very long complex sentences to two or more simple sentences.   Likewise, some passages have been carefully abridged due to space limitations, but in no instance have words been added or changed.”

So each day’s meditation includes a brief reading (say, a passage from St. Augustine‘s City of God, or St. John Chrysostom‘s Homily 3 on the Power of Demons, or Palladius of Galatia from his Lausiac History).  Following the reading are one or two questions to consider in God’s presence, and a short closing prayer.

At the back of the book is a listing of the forty Church Fathers whose works are included:  well-known Fathers like Ambrose and Basil the Great, Clement of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa; and lesser-known Church Fathers includingEphrem the Syrian and Jacob of Serugh, Lactantius and Theodoret andPhiloxenus of Mabbug.  All have valuable insights which have been logically organized by the author, and made available in a convenient single volume.

A Year With the Church Fathers by Mike Aquilina is the perfect gift for your pastor, your deacon, or someone you love.  It is apparently one of a series of beautiful titles from Saint Benedict Press, following earlier books including Mike Aquilina’s A Year with the Angels, and Dr. Paul Thigpen’s A Year with the Saints.