Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: The Liturgical Year

Last year, well, really from November 2009 to November 2010, I took a walk through the Christian calendar, trying to understand what it is, what it means, why it exists. Coming from a not-so-liturgical denomination, I was curious to know more about this practice. The Liturgical Year would have been a great resource for me!

Written by a Benedictine nun, this book clearly explains what the liturgical year is, why Catholics and other liturgical denominations recognize it, how it came to be a tradition of the Church, and its potential value to those who take it seriously. It then defines each element of the liturgical practice from the basic Sunday to the familiar Christmas and Easter, to ordinary time, feast days, and recognition of saints. (I had skipped over the saints in my study, but Sister Chittister explained why they are included in the Christian calendar. Their lives show us how the Christian life should be lived and that it can be done. They encourage us to continue on.)

Sister Chittister’s passion for this subject shines clearly through every chapter of this book. Her explanations are clear. Her testimony is inspiring. I enjoyed reading this book.

This quote from page 6 sums up its essence:

The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ. It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are—followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in spiritual ripening.

The rest of the book shows how this works! Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending it for my review.

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