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The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life - The Ancient Practices Series

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A journey of the soul through the map of Christian time.
The liturgical year, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent and carrying through the following November is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ.
This book sets out to open what may at first seem to be simply an arbitrary arrangement of ancient holy days or litur
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Thomas Nelson (first published August 11th 2009)
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Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
As a life-long Southern Baptist who has loved visiting Episcopal churches, the introduction made me long to attend a liturgical church. This book covers the seasons, feasts, and ordinary time of the liturgical year. But beware, it is not a book to introduce you to or tell you what the liturgical year is; it is a book that tries to bring depth, meaning and insight to one who is familiar with and follows the liturgical year. Sister Joan, with solid theology, can be wordy at times, but overall is a ...more
Joel Daniel Harris
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bible-theo
I was generally disappointed by this book. I think, perhaps, I walked into it with the wrong expectations, but I'm not sure what the right set of expectations would have been. I was hoping for a book that would explain both the practice and the beauty of the liturgical year for a quaker (ie non-liturgical dude) like me. I'm quite intrigued by the idea of the church calendar (and liturgy in general) but definitely don't know much about it. What I got was a rather repetitive, inconclusively brief ...more
Elora Ramirez
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reads, favorites
Coming from a place where I knew nothing of the liturgical calendar, I loved this book. Highly recommended, especially if you want to learn more.
Alexis Neal
Feb 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read.

Ostensibly a book about the liturgical year, its history, theology, and significance to our modern lives, this is more accurately two hundred pages of Chittister assuring her readers over and over (and over again) that the liturgical year is important . . . without ever really explaining why. From Chittester's prospective, the point of the liturgical year is to remind us of the life of Jesus so we can emulate him in order to become "fully h
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, spirituality
In the past year, I have become increasingly enchanted with the liturgical calendar as a tool for spiritual formation. I was SO looking forward to reading more about the church calendar and gaining some additional insight and this book ended up just being disappointing.
There is some good stuff about the historical roots of the liturgical calendar and I enjoyed the sections on heroes of the faith and the feast days. Overall though, the writing was redundant and overly fluffy. There was no practi
Hope Squires
My favorite quote from the book, especially timely: "The world around us tells us that life is about money, security, power, and success. Yet the Gospels tell us that life is about something completely other. Real life, the Gospels tell us, is about doing the will of God, speaking for the poor, changing the lives of widows and orphans, exalting the status of women, refusing to make war, laying down our lives for the other, the invisible, and the enemy. It is about taking everyone in instead of l ...more
Josh Dockter
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Decent introduction to the liturgical year. Lots of fluff. Lacks that special Protestant umph.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and informative, offering some new thoughts on aspects of the christian year
tonia peckover
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice overview of the purpose and power of following the church calendar with insightful and inspiring summaries of each individual season.
J.E. Jr.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
I recently received a copy of The Liturgical Year: The spiraling adventure of the spiritual life by Joan Chittister, which is one of the latest titles in Thomas Nelson's series on "The Ancient Practices" of the church. (Disclaimer: I received this copy for free from Thomas Nelson, in exchange for my commitment to write this review.)

I read another title in this series, Fasting by Scot McKnight, last spring-- and it was excellent. I was excited about the opportunity to read this title, too, for tw
Ryan Moore
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As someone who did not grow up in a Christian tradition that was liturgical lately I have become more interested in the liturgy of the Church and the impact that it has on the lives of believers. I wanted this book as soon as I saw it. I hoped that it would increase my knowledge of the liturgical calendar and the hows and whys of the various seasons. I wish the book had included more historical information on the seasons, more practical how to information on each of the seasons, and had been mor ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Liturgical Year is a part of the 8 book “The Ancient Practices Series” from Thomas Nelson. It is also now the second one I have read in this series, and I must say that I enjoyed this a good bit more than the other(Fasting by Douglas Leblanc). I believe this may mainly be due to the topics, however. This one definitely lends more towards Chittister's style of writing from what I've heard quoted before(this was actually the first book of hers that I've read, though).

In The Liturgical Year, Ch
Beyond the Pages
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am of the opinion that something good can be found in everything. With that in mind, I would like to guardedly say that The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister is a fairly decent book.

Like many others before me, I was very excited about reading on the liturgy. I wanted to understand and become more familiar with what the liturgical year was all about in the purest sense. I elected to read Ms. Chittister’s book, hoping to gain clarity and insight on this topic.

I found Ms. Chittister’s writing
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Having grown up in a church that is Christian, but that doesn’t observe the tradition of Lent, I have always been curious about the ancient practice. When I was a child, virtually nobody I knew observed the custom, although of course we observed various aspects of the liturgical year. This year I decided to dig deeper.

I’ve always believed, and still do, that salvation is not found in works, but I’m still drawn to the idea of making a sacrifice for Christ out of reverence. It just so happened tha
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
“The purpose of the liturgical year is to bring to life in us and around us, little by little, one layer of insight after another until we grow to full stature in the spiritual life.” pg. 21
The Liturgical Year, what is it? What are its components? In her book, Sister Joan Chittister lays out the year beginning with Advent and continuing through Lent, Easter, and more, explaining the importance of each to the Christian walk. The chapters are short, making it easy to make time to pick up the book
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Joan Chittister does a great job of explaining the point of the liturgical year cycle. It's a great read that takes one through the whole church year including spaces like "Ordinary Time" which are important in the calendar. It's a great primer for those who haven't heard about the Liturgical Calendar and the reasons for the fasts/feasts associated with those seasons (i.e. Advent, Lent, Eastertide, Sabbath, etc.)

She does include a section on Marian feasts, which may scare Protestants, but she is
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Church, and especially the Catholic Church, has set readings and rituals throughout the year to commemorate pivotal times in the life of Christ as He lived out His purpose of embodying the most direct communication from God to us, God's people: God taking human form to sympathize with and rescue the human race. Coming from a non-liturgical church background as I do, I was curious about and interested in liturgical practices of Christianity. I really enjoyed the learning, mind- and spirit- ex ...more
Margo Brooks
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I bought this book hoping for in depth information and history about the liturgical year and what it means. It is in here, but not laid out in a straight forward or detailed manner. In some ways I think the author wasn't sure if she wanted to write an informational or inspirational book. Both aspects are covered, but neither in enough depth for a novice on the subject to really get into. Additionally, it was often repetitive. At times the very short chapters felt like sermons rather than a progr ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a tour through the liturgical intended for those who grew up steeped in weeks, feasts, remembrances and so on. Unfortunately, though I am familiar with mild liturgy (having attended Methodist and Anglican churches) it is not the high liturgy Chittister references in this book.

I was hoping for an introduction to practicing the liturgical year, and this book is an explanation for those already practicing it. I imagine it would be much more appreciated by those looking for deeper mean
Andy Mitchell
Brilliant! Inspiring!

Joan Chittister is a spiritual giant and a gifted communicator.

If you are interested in learning more about how the annual celebrations of the liturgical calendar can help you grow in your faith and live in a more Christlike way, then get a copy of this book.

It receives my highest recommendation.

I am so grateful that the publisher of this book provided me with a free copy for my unbiased review.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, favorites
A well written overview of the liturgical year. And though I have learned about the liturgical year over the years from other sources, I was not raised in a liturgical environment. However, Chittister's view provides the reader with a rich not barren overview of the Christian Calendar and is more inspirational than informational. But, it is a book that has given me food for thought and food for the soul with inspirational statements.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the liturgical form of worship. The author describes the purpose and importance of liturgy in the worshipers life. Often, a believer in a liturgical setting will not understand what is going on, but the author does a tremendous job explaining liturgy and it's purpose. Many people think of liturgy as no more than empty repetitive ritual but this book explains the importance and significance of liturgy in a persons life. Excellent read!
Adam Shields
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Overall I would recommend the book. It is part of a series of books trying to rediscover some of the Ancient Practices of the Church. But if you have some familiarity with the liturgical year, then it will probably be mostly review.

A longer review is on my blog at
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ministry, theology
Great overview of the liturgical year and some very profound insights into the meaning behind each event, and the history by which it came into being. Beautifully written as well. For someone interested in understanding the liturgical year - specifically Catholic, though most is the same in other liturgical traditions - this is a quick and insightful read.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first it seems a little bogged down with flowery language (I admit I almost gave up), but there are so many great nuggets in here if you go looking for them. This is a great book to do a once-through, and now I will refer back to different chapters as the year progresses. A great bird's eye view.
May 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I was hoping for more depth. Chittister expounds upon the spiritual importance of the liturgical year, but spends most of the book repetitively harping on Easter, speaking in generalities all the while. Seasons/days that aren't Lent or Eastertide get very little treatment. There were a few interesting bits, but overall the book felt lopsided and shallow. I was disappointed.
Jason Siegfried
Sep 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
I had hoped for so much more from this book! The Author never gets into any detail on history or theology of the liturgical year, instead spends the whole of the book stating and restating that the liturgical year is important. Hope to find a more informative text on the subject.
Charles Dean
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: churchy-stuff
New to this kind of thinking, I found this book to be a good primer. It's probably not for everyone - but as pastor who seeks to incorporate more of the liturgical year into our church context, this was a helpful read.
Dec 02, 2009 is currently reading it
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May 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. The author loves to hear herself talk, and frequently repeated herself. Her use of overly flowery language was also a turn off.
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“It is what we do routinely, not what we do rarely, that delineates the character of a person.” 1 likes
“For the Jew, Passover is a sign of salvation, of “God with us” at a particular historical moment in the past. For the Christian, Easter is a sign of “God with us” in the past, but with us now also and at a time to come, as well.” 1 likes
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