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The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

In The Liturgical Year, Joan Chittister explores the liturgy of the Catholic and more orthodox faiths. She begins by explaining what the liturgical year is and that it’s purpose “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.” She then moves into more specifics, like advent (the beginning of the liturgical year), and Christmas, and Lent, then Easter followed by the Saints days and Marian feasts. Not only does she describe the symbolism of each, but also what the spiritual implication is to the believer who observes them.

I picked up this book from a purely educational standpoint. I am not a Catholic and their practices have always seemed mysterious to me. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I greatly appreciated the emphasis on Christ’s redemptive work on the cross that is weaved throughout the yearly observances. The chapters dealing with advent and Christmas helped me appreciate even more the Christmas season and the “coming” of Jesus. I did find the chapters on the Saint days and Marian observances a little at odds with my protestant beliefs, yet they were historically enlightening. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to walk closer with Jesus on a daily basis or for anyone trying to understand what their Catholic friends are doing.

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