Someone once said to me, "If you don't attend Mass, then everything you learn about the Catholic faith will mean nothing." Within the first lines of introduction to The Mass by Cardinal Wuerl, I started to truly understand what he meant. I love that Cardinal Wuerl (and Mike Aquilina) begins with dispelling one of the greatest misconceptions about the Catholic faith - mainly that it is not Scriptural. Nothing could be further from the truth, PARTICULARLY when speaking about the Mass. I appreciated the succinct chapter on the evolution of the Mass from the Last Supper to it's present form, yet enjoyed the continuing weaving of this history and lesson on the scripture connections throughout the subsequent chapters. Perhaps it is just my very short attention span but I have to note how readable I found this book because every chapter was brief yet incredibly informative. I was able to read in short spurts, which is usually all I have time throughout most days - it is also a great format for anyone wishing to use this book for reflection during Eucharistic Adoration.
This book would make a fantastic gift to anyone in the RCIA program, making their confirmation or has just been away from the Church and is looking to re-catechize themselves on the Mass. Even the most faithful of Church goer will take away a wealth of information from this book. Part One gives the reader a deeper knowledge and understanding of such topics as the obligation a Catholic has to attend Mass, your role in the Mass, even those things we see every week - the furnishings, vestments, altar contents and books. Part Two breaks down the individual segments, rituals and beautiful words of the Liturgy.
So many people say they are bored at Mass, or "they don't get anything out of it". I surmise that when something is not understood, it is incredibly difficult to gleam the most from it. Though we may never fully understand the mystery of consubstantiation, being better versed in what is transpiring before us can only facilitate a more focused participation. That participation in the Mass, that cooperation with the grace abundant in this sacramental celebration will produce even more understanding and revelation. When we learn more, and then bring ourselves into the Mass ready to encounter God, His Grace will do infinitely more than we could ever imagine. As St. James said, "Drew near to God, and he will draw nearer to you." Get a copy of The Mass brush up or delve for the first time into the beauty that is Catholicism - and bring yourself into God's home prepared to encounter Christ in a whole new way!
For a sneak peek here is the first chapter on Scribd: The Mass by Cardinal Wuerl
**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review**