booklady's Reviews > Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy

Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy by Neil Roy
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Aug 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, church-documents, favorites, history, mystery, non-fiction, philosophy, prayer, psychology, religion, scripture, spiritual, theology, worth-reading-over-and-over, biography, books-on-books
Read from August 06 to September 29, 2011

Although I bought and read this book to increase my understanding of and appreciation for the forthcoming changes in the Sacred Liturgy – in Advent 2011 – it has brought me to a closer relationship with Our Lord and His humble ambassador, Pope Benedict XVI, who is doing all he can in his capacity as Servant of the Servants of God to help us fall in love with Our Lord through beautiful worship.

This book is a collection of essays by authors chosen especially for their knowledge of liturgy, translation, and/or Pope Benedict. D. Vincent Twomey opens the book addressing the fact that we were created for worship: ‘The first account of creation in Genesis has nothing to do with how we were created (such as is proposed by the scientific theory of evolution). Its message, rather, is to convey to the reader why we were created. According to Ratzinger, the cosmos has been brought into existence for one thing only: worship.’ p.14.

The second essay entitled, “The problem of translation” by Jorge Maria Cardinal Mejia takes us from the fall of the Tower of Babel to Pentecost, from many languages and not being able to understand each other to a unity of comprehension in speech: ‘The Church insists on, or rather imposes, some measure of unity. This she does, not out of any passion for uniformity, but precisely in order to make Pentecost present. ... All languages are of equal worth. It is not reasonable to maintain that any given language is superior to another. Nevertheless, there was a trend in Catholic antiquity to apply to the three languages the character or distinction of ‘sacred’: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. This designation derives from the title that was hung on the cross of our Lord.’ p.21-22

There are several other interesting essays including one on Father Klaus Gamber, the father of the 'new liturgical movement’; another on the crisis of sacred art and one about the translation theory in Liturgiam Authenticam—all of which are fascinating but regrettably too complex to go into in this venue. Let me just include this final quote from “Joseph Ratzinger and the Liturgy” by Joseph Murphy,
‘What then is worship? In all religions, at the heart of worship is sacrifice. Usually sacrifice is taken to mean destruction, because it involves removing something precious to man from human use in order to hand it over definitively to God. The question arises as to whether anything is really surrendered to God through destruction. True surrender to God is in fact somewhat different. It consists in the union of man and creation with God. Belonging to God has nothing to do with destruction or non-being; it is a way of being. It means losing oneself as the only possible way of finding oneself. As St. Augustine says, the true sacrifice is the civitas Dei, love transformed mankind, the divinization of creation and the surrender of all things to God: God all in all (see 1 Corinthians 15:28). This is the purpose of the world, and the essence of sacrifice and worship.’ p.145
I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you want to understand that worshipping Our Lord is the single most important human activity and therefore the one deserving of ‘getting right’. Indeed, when we ‘sit at His feet in wonder’, we have acknowledged our ‘need of only one thing (and) chosen the better part (which) will not be taken from (us).’ cf. Luke 10:42

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Picked this up at a Marian Consecration week-end in LaCrosse, WI. It was recommended by Raymond Cardinal Burke. Consists of a series of articles about Pope Benedict XVI's reform of the Liturgy. So far of the five I've read, they are very good. Not easy to read, but well-worth it.
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