Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: The Mass by Cardinal Donald Wuerl

The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the TraditionThe Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition by Cardinal Donald Wuerl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s book The Mass is a 212 page volume which delves into the mysteries we encounter each week as we head to church.   Each part of the service is examined in depth from preparing for Mass to the dismissal.   The people and other parts of the service are discussed, such as explaining the function of the cantor.   Also, parts of the church are mentioned, such as the Tabernacle.   Even the vestments are explained.

This is a fantastic book for those who are new to the Church.   One thing I particularly enjoy about Cardinal Wuerl’s style of teaching is he starts at the basics, but it’s in a style that no one feels talked down to when he is explaining something.  Even when you think “I know that”, his wonderful style is such that you will still gain something new from enjoying this book.

This book also has a number of photos so you aren’t guessing as to what is being discussed.  In the chapter “The Great Amen”, the chalice and paten are mentioned as being elevated, and there is a photo of Cardinal Wuerl doing just that — what better way to know exactly what is being taught as by seeing it.

As Catholics, Mass is just what we do.  But WHY do we do it?   This book delves into that, and not only is it an informative book, but one that could easily be a springboard for mediation as the meanings behind the rituals are explained.   For example, making the sign of the cross at the beginning or the end of a homily is a way of asking God to help us make the message real in our hearts.  (While not all people do this, I found this example to be especially interesting!) So many times things become habit rather than meaningful.  I would highly recommend this book to any Catholic to try and bring the original intent of each ritual back into the forefront of your mind, and hopefully you will enjoy Mass as never before.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review.  All opinions are my own.

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