Have you ever sat down to color with your children on a rainy day and discovered that you stayed at the table, filling pages with crayon-bright colors, long after the kids had wandered away? Coloring is just so relaxing. It seems like everyone has figured this out: coloring books for adults, without cartoon characters and dot-to-dot puzzles, line shelves in art-supply stores, bookshops and stationery stores.
Coloring is more than a relaxing activity, though; it can actually be a time of prayer. When Pauline Books & Media released two coloring books for adults this summer, they paired the books with albums of meditative music to help turn that time of relaxation into a time of prayer.
These coloring books from Pauline, with or without music, are all about prayer. Our Lady’s Garden is a large-format coloring book that includes various images of Mary, flowers, and Marian prayers. You’ll also find coloring pages centered on quotes from the Blessed Mother at Fatima, Lourdes and Guadalupe. Some pages feature invitations to write your own prayer petitions.
The art in Our Lady’s Garden is very delicate. The images are simple line drawings with graceful lines and intricate designs. Some of the images are a two-page-wide spread. Flowers and stars feature prominently in these designs.
Windows into Christ turns the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral of Chartres, France, into coloring pages. Passages from Scripture and prayers are found throughout the book, which is made up entirely of two-page spread designs. Events from the life of Christ are presented in chronological order.
Because Windows into Christ is based on stained-glass windows, the drawings are no less intricate than those in Our Lady’s Garden, but the designs are bolder, with heavier lines approximating the lead between the variously-colored panes of stained glass in the cathedral windows.
Another new offering in the world of Catholic coloring books for grownups is At Play in God’s Creation: An Illuminating Coloring Book by Tara M. Owens and illustrated by Daniel W. Sorensen.
There’s a surprisingly beefy introduction on contemplative prayer, in which the author explains:
these pages contain more than lines and spaces, quotes and reflections. At Play in God’s Creation is an invitation to meditation and contemplative prayer….The words woven throughout are breadcrumbs dropped by our playful guides along the way, saints and sinners who have walked in the world before us, who understand the love of God and our brokenness in ways both profound and simple.
This coloring book is packed full of beautiful designs to color, and it’s not all hearts and flowers. You’ll find a crown-of-thorns page with a candle in the center, water imagery, intricate Celtic knots, buildings, birds, landscapes, and, yes, hearts and flowers. There are also prayer prompts, quotes from saints and mystics, and even hidden pictures to find! It’s not just a coloring book–it’s a prayer journal.
One thing that charmed me right off the bat: the very first coloring page in the book shows a window overlooking a winding path. At the top, the heading reads “This book belongs to ____________.” There’s even a design to color on the copyright page. You can color on every single page of this book–and at 96 pages of thick 10×10 paper, this book isn’t skimpy in any way.
Whether or not you think you’re very artistic, time spent coloring is calming and meditative. These coloring books are steeped in prayer and will inspire you as you color. Coloring books and supplies like markers or colored pencils make wonderful gift ideas, too!
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is available from Our Sunday Visitor.