By Joseph K. (MI) -
A must read book for anyone with an interest as to what the Liturgy truly is at its heart.
Spirit of the Liturgy is a must read and a must buy. Pope Benedict, writing as Cardinal Ratzinger, did a masterful job of not only explaining what the Liturgy is but also what it should be. It is completely orthodox and is as instructive as it is informative.
This book is so important in terms of its cathechesis regarding the Liturgy that Msgr. Guido Marini, the Pontifical Master of Liturgical Ceremonies, used it as the basis for his speech at the Year for Priests Clergy Conference in Rome this past January.
The book explains the purpose, meaning, and history behind the various features of the Liturgy. Specifically, the term LITURGY is used because Pope Benedict explains how it is the eternal, or "once for all", prayer of the Church. Everything from the music, to the posture of the people, to the history of the procedure are explained in explicit detail. Although it is somewhat academic, the book is fairly straight-forward and easy to read. While it is somewhat complex, due to Pope Benedict's writing style, it is plain enough for almost all Catholics to read it and get a deep understanding of the Liturgy from it.
I challenge anyone to read it and not look at the Liturgy in a very different way. Having said that, it is obvious from this work how the Pope feels about the Liturgy. It is also clear from this work how the Liturgy itself should operate and how the reforms of the Liturgy have gone very astray from the Church's intention coming out of Vatican II. Pope Benedict attacks this issue not in a head on way, but instead simply explains what the Liturgy should be and allows the reader to draw their own inferences.
The book is well broken up into various sections allowing readers to not only read it in its entirety as to get a full education on the Liturgy, but to then also use it as a resource moving forward in a way that allows the work to be dissected into chapters so that it can be used as a reference work as well.
This book should be on every Catholic's shelf, and is a great gift for your self or any Catholic you know.
You can purchase this book here.