An insightful and practical exploration of Catholicism’s most sacred tradition.
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition is an engaging and authoritative guide to Catholicism’s most distinctive practice. And now, with the Church introducing revised language for the Mass, Catholics have a perfect opportunity to renew their understanding of this beautiful and beloved celebration.
With eloquent prose and elegant black-and-white photography, bestselling authors Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina guide readers through the different parts of the Mass, from the entrance procession to the blessing and dismissal, capturing the deep meaning of elements that are at once ordinary and mysterious: bread and wine, water and candles, altar cloths and ceremonial books.
Step by step, they explain the specifics, such as the order of the Mass, the vessels used, the unique clothing worn, the prayers and responses, the postures and the gestures. Then they explore the rich historical, spiritual and theological background to each. Prayerful but practical, fact-filled but readable, The Mass prepares readers to participate more fully and appreciatively in the sacred rite at the heart of Catholic life.
Anticipating changes to the English-language liturgy in 2011, newly minted Cardinal Wuerl (The Teaching of Christ) of Washington, D.C., and Catholic writer Aquilina (The Fire of God's Love) have produced a pithy primer on the Western Mass. The book is practical and poetic, intended to feed both intellect and soul. Wuerl, who neither sought nor opposed the controversial Mass revisions, explains them without polemics. The authors do acknowledge that some changes to familiar English may be jarring, and admit that some new wording is "unfamiliar and technical." The central theme is that the Mass is rooted in scripture and that its basic elements were in place by the second century. The subtext is that the sacrament and the faith are unchanging, but ritual changes over time. This book is ideal for Catholic adults who need a refresher and for potential converts to Catholicism. A minor weakness is that it lacks chapters on weddings and funerals, the two types of Mass that non-Catholics are most likely to attend.