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Catholic Review of: The Bible and the Mass

Item Details

Author:  Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

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This item received 5 stars overall. (09/15/2009)

Orthodoxy: Completely orthodox.
Reading Level: Intermediate

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A Remarkably Balanced Biblical Explanation of the Mass

Evaluator Comments

In a Nutshell

The Bible and the Mass is a handbook for study of the liturgical prayers. In the liturgy of the Mass, we are led by things we understand, the signs and symbols of liturgical worship, to things that are beyond human comprehension: the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The visible directs our thoughts to the invisible, the known to the unknown. If we do not understand liturgical worship, however, it cannot lead us to encounter the great mysteries of our faith. Such is usually the case with Catholics who claim they "don't get anything out of Mass." To varying degrees, it is also true for each of us who does not fully appreciate the liturgical prayers. The Bible and the Mass presents an exceptionally balanced and methodical consideration of the liturgy in a format that is designed to accompany prayer and reflection. With a firm foundation in the Catechism, Sacred Scripture, and history, The Bible and the Mass is a reliable resource for a better understanding of the liturgy, and a deeper appreciation of the "sacred mysteries."


In The Bible and the Mass, Father Stravinskas explains the significance of each part of the liturgy from the entrance hymn to the dismissal, including each of the four Eucharistic prayers that are in use today. His explanations are rich and multifaceted. They explore the historical and Scriptural origins of the liturgy, and draw from the theological riches of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. References to the Catechism average three to four a page.

The book is divided into four chapters treating the Opening Rites, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Concluding Rites, respectively. Each chapter concludes with carefully selected Scripture passages for meditation in conjunction with the liturgical prayers. Following his own reflections on these Scripture passages, Stravinskas provides five helpful questions about the section of the Mass just studied. These questions are intended for group discussion and the answers can be found, with a little reflection, within the pages of the chapter.

Lastly, there are three very useful appendices at the end of the book. "Latin in the Liturgy," "Our Posture in Worship," and "Sacred Vestments, Liturgical Colors, and Other Liturgical Objects" supply important information for a comprehensive understanding of the Mass.


The Bible and the Mass is clear, easy to use, and formatted for both individual use and group study.
The tone of The Bible and the Mass is remarkably balanced. Stravinskas does not fit into any of the politicized liturgical camps that have emerged since the Second Vatican Council. Consider this statement: "The purpose of a Latin liturgy is not to foster nostalgia, much less to serve as a symbol of rebellion against legitimate renewal, but to put and keep Catholics in touch with their roots"? (pg. 114). Stravinskas is not "traditional" in the sense of unwelcome to change. Nor is he "progressive" in the sense of discounting all that has come before. Rather, he seeks in all things to respect the intention of the Church and preserve the integrity of the Mass. 

Evaluator Comments

The evenhanded treatment of the liturgy found in The Bible and the Mass ensures its appeal to an audience as expansive as the Church itself. Whether you prefer the "old Mass" or the new, The Bible and the Mass will enable you to better appreciate the liturgy and, perhaps, free you from some unnecessary liturgical prejudices. I highly recommend this book.    

You can purchase this book here.


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