The purpose of the book, he said, would be simple: To encourage people to pray ... even if only for six minutes a day.
To accomplish that, the Little Black Book would use the prayer tradition of lectio divina to help people pray the passion of the Lord.
The Little Black Book debuted in 2000 as a Lenten reflection book for the bishop's mid-Michigan diocese. Besides an English version of the book, there was also a Spanish edition, and a children's version (Little Purple Book). Soon word of the Little Books began to spread to parishes throughout Michigan and the Midwest, and the Saginaw Diocese was flooded with requests for copies.
Bishop Untener died 11 years ago, on March 27, 2004, but his writings are the reflections on the right-hand side of Little Books. Today, more than three million books are distributed annually worldwide
How to Use the Little Black Book
You can use this Little Black Book anywhere. It travels easily in your pocket, purse, glove compartment. The goal is to find six minutes of quiet time every day for the next 50 days to walk through this book a page a time. Six minutes. That's within reach. And it pays big returns.
The key is the right-hand page. Starting with Ash Wednesday, we will walk through Luke's passion narrative, a few verses at a time, with explanations and reflections along the way. It's an ancient way of praying the Scriptures - called lectio divina. God speaks to us "live" through the sacred word and we're often surprised at the thoughts that come.
The left-hand page has a variety of quotes, information, timely thoughts. Treat it like a buffet table from which you can take what you like. (If pressed for time, go directly to the right-hand page and spend your time there.)
On Sunday and on various left-hand pages, we'll especially call to mind the poor this Lenten season, remembering Pope Francis' words that "(a)mong our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor."
- Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw
Throughout Lent, we will be blogging passages from the Little Black Book. If you would like to follow along or take the the journey yourself, copies are available at St. Peter Church or in the Parish Office. For more information about the Little Books, you can visit www.littlebooks.org.