Religion - Catholicism
"The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition,” By Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina. Doubleday Books,21p5p., $21.99
Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Crdinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina, executive vice president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and author of over 30 books combine to write a concise, historical and user friendly book on the Mass. Familiar to Catholics who celebrate the Mass weekly and recognizable to non-believers through the artwork of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and other well known depictions of the ‘sacred mysteries,’ this book provides a scriptural basis and historical development of the rites Catholics celebrate at Jesus’ command.
An interesting aspect of this collaborative effort is the way the book flows. While thinking of the more technical aspects of the Mass and the reasons for the actions of the priest celebrating the Mass, the authors make the actions come alive through their telling of the constant connection to Jesus and the faith throughout. Any non-catholic who reads this book will come away knowing the development of the rubrics of the Mass and the varying traditions as well as the developments which took years to codify.
The earliest evidence of what is familiar to present day Catholics as ‘the Mass’ was first written by St. Ambrose, bishop ofMilan, in a letter to his sister in the year 386. The word mass comes from the Latin word missa, which means, ‘go, it is dismissal.’
Words such as pyx, ciborium, chalice vie, lavabo, cruets and thurible are explained as well as an explanation of the vestments used during the liturgy. The description of the vestments and their use are put into an historical context and introduces us to other aspects of the externals of the Mass.
Cardinal Wuerl and Mr. Aquilina then explain each movement of the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist bringing in scripture, quotes from saints down through the ages and modern popes. This concise book is an excellent primer for any Catholic and those interested in finding out the what and why Catholics do what they do at Mass.
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