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248BOOK REVIEWS with Migne. Then, too, it would be more practical to avoid duplication of identical passages, and more popular to reduce purely academic verbiage to a suitable minimum, salva semper claritate. Dr. Murphy merits our unstinted gratitude. His Regesta Rufiniana are admirable; his Bibliography, doctoral; his Index, practical. Starting eight years ago, he published his interest in the "Irascible Hermit," Saint Jerome, and "His Foil," Rufinus of Aquileia. It is obvious that the mills of God grind slowly; but in due time Truth will triumph, and Justice will win. Urban Mueller, O.F.M. Cap. Sl. Lawrence College, Mount Calvary, Wis. Lent. A Liturgical Commentary on the Lessons and Gospels. By Conrad Pepler, O.P. (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Co., 1944. Pp. x+406. $4.00.) Fr. Pepler has rendered a notable service to the Catholic clergy and laity by his splendid liturgical commentaries on the Lessons and Gospels of Lent. It is a great contribution to the ever-increasing literature on Christian spirituality. Doubtlessly the present volume will be found useful in more than one way; the commentaries are not only liturgical, but also devotional and ascetical. They carry the full import of the Lenten spirit. For the primary purpose of the Lessons, as the author states, "is to lead every Christian to identify himself with Christ hanging on the Cross" (p. vi). That aim is well demonstrated in the course of this voluminous work. It is the author's contention that the Church intended the Lessons for a set purpose, namely, as a course, or the basis of a course, of instructions to catechumens and Christians alike to prepare them for the Easter sacraments, baptism for the former, penance for the latter, and Eucharist for both (p. vi). The Lessons were meant "as a solid basis of instruction gradually revealing the mysteries of Christian religion to those who were finally to be brought into the Church by baptism" (p. vi); consequently the doctrine contained therein "is aptly chosen for the season of the year unfolding day by day, step by step, the way of Lent, of Christian asceticism, of Christian life" (p. iv). It is towards this purpose, namely, "to unravel from these varied scriptural readings a consistent and orderly doctrine" (p. iii), that the author presented this present work. The entire Lenten season is divided into two fairly equal parts, each having a definite scope in view. In the course of his book Fr. Pepler emphasizes a sound principle of asceticism that the mere external observances of Lent do not carry much weight when they are not guided and motivated by the noble goal to which they should tend. The external observances, such as fasting, almsgiving and prayer, are but means which, if devoid of the end to which they are ordinated, become useless. The book is well written and is an excellent help towards bringing the true Lenten spirit to Catholics at large. Priests, especially those engaged in pastoral work, will find in this volume a wealth of material for Lenten BOOK REVIEWS249 sermons, enriched by many interesting historical facts bearing on the customs and rites of early Christians. Aside from the fact that the author's pre-arranged plan of the whole scheme of the Lenten liturgy appears artificial, and is not shared by other liturgical writers, there are a few details which could stand correction. Thus on page 129, the author claims that Origen was the first to write a treatise on prayer. As far as we know it was Tertullian who has written the first treatise on prayer; his De Oratione, written between 198 and 200, preceded by some thirty years the work by Origen. Then, the author's statement that Aetheria "had listened, perhaps from the lips of the great master of Lenten instructions, S. Cyril of Jerusalem himself [the italics are those of the reviewer], to a veritable Sermo Domini" (p. 337), is highly improbable. Finally, the statement that pagans in the state of grace "necessarily belong to the Church, though unwittingly" (p. 141) ought to be revised in the light of the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII Mystic/ Corporis, or, at least, it should be followed by an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 248-249
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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