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BE BLEST by Mary Beth Owens


A Celebration of Seasons

by Mary Beth Owens

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-80546-2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This book of seasonal prayers, inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of Brother Sun,” and also indebted to Gaelic scholar Alexander Carmichel’s work, can be summed up by a portion of the prayer for November: “Contained in every/season’s end:/the blessing to begin again.” Springtime’s “Sing praise” gives way to summer’s “Rejoice!” and then to harvest time’s “Give Thanks” before winter’s “Be Blest” appears in the encircled prayer that faces each month’s watercolor illustration. The realistic paintings reflect the annual cycle, becoming almost iconographic in the evidence in each of the gifts of the season. These are “God’s good gifts” that in January, for example, are the seeds shaken from dead plants and weeds and the leaf buds on barren branches. The puzzle of the cycle of life springing from death moves on many levels; also appearing in January are predator (fox) and prey (deer). The simple yet sturdy spirituality informing this book will assure its place in both individual and institutional collections that have room for religious titles. (Picture book. 6-8)