Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Great new book on the Mass

I normally don't do book reviews on here, but I recently picked up a great little book on the Mass that I recommend highly. Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People by Jeffrey Pinyan of the blog The Cross Reference is the best book on the Mass that I have seen in a while, especially because it is the only one that has been written in conformity with the new English translation of the Mass that should be implemented next year. This alone sets it apart from all other books on the Mass currently floating around.

Jeff's book is meant for those who want to get deeper into the Mass - essentially, it's a practical guide to true active participation and a welcome counter to tired out old activist notions of participation that became dominant in the post-conciliar years. This would be an excellent book for friends or family who have some knowledge of the Mass but want to learn how to go deeper. I purchased twelve copies to give out to my RCIA class when we talk about the liturgy. If you are already a liturgical expert, then this book probably won't tell you anything new, but it would be great to have on hand to give to persons who might have questions about what goes on at Mass and why we do what we do. The book seems to be written to help promulgate a more reverent participation and conscious reflection on the Mass, in keeping with the wishes of our Holy Father to restore dignity and solmenity to the celebration of the Roman Rite.

The book takes you through each part of the Mass chapter by chapter, drawing out the pertinent theological observations and backing them up with citations from the CCC, the Popes and Scripture. The Mass prayers themselves are provided in Latin with the corresponding, correct English translations (the ones that will be coming out soon) next to them. At the end of every chapter are a series of thoughtful questions and reflections designed to help the reader put together the various themes brought up in the course of the chapter.

Jeff's writing is clear and insightful (as you can see from his blog) and his observations and theology all perfectly in line with a traditional understanding of the Mass as a Sacrifice. The book is written about the Novus Ordo, but he frequently refers the Extraordinary Form as a reference point and reminds us that the Extraordinary Form is a valid and praiseworthy expression of the Roman Rite, echoing Benedict's words in the motu proprio. I recommend this book highly. You can click here to go to the book's website for reviews, excerpts, etc. and of course to purchase.

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