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202 Antiphon 15.2 (2011) Book Reviews Peter J. Vaghi. The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of the Faith. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2010. xi + 145 pp. Paperback. $12.95. Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Ronald Lawler, Thomas Comerford Lawler, Kris D. Stubna. The Sacraments: A Continuing Encounter with Christ. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2010. 158 pp. Paperback. $11.95. In a short contribution to Antiphon almost ten years ago, Deacon Owen Cummings muses on the need in the Church for a more doxological orientation, both in systematic theology and in our experience of the liturgy (“Christianity as Doxology,” Antiphon 7.1 [2002]: 7-9). He argues for a teaching of theology that not only informs students with sound doctrine, but also nurtures in them “a pervasive sense of the amplitude of God,” which in turn “leads one to one’s knees in silent adoration of the Mystery, or to the ecstatic praise of God in words shot through with praise, poetry and beauty” (8). Likewise, he urges, celebrants and congregations could be more fully formed— through education, beauty of environment and ritual, and preparation in prayer—not only in the careful and competent celebration of the rites, but also in a liturgical spirituality which opens one to the experience of “overwhelming by God” (9). Such a mystagogic experience, Cummings suggests, leads one to a fuller and more transformative doxology, which is nothing less than divinization. Today, as the Church prepares to implement the new English translation of the Roman Missal, with its fidelity to the elevated style of the Latin, the need is greater than ever for formation of the faithful in a doxological liturgical spirituality. In this teachable moment, catechesis—especially about the sacramental mysteries—must therefore also be doxological. Indeed, a mystagogical catechesis that leads members of Christ’s body to exist for the praise of God’s glory (Eph 1:12), is fundamental to shaping a liturgical spirituality that stands in awe of the gift of the divine life of trinitarian communion participated to us through the sacraments, rooted in the Paschal mystery. And yet, in spite of many years of liturgical renewal, it seems that large numbers 203 Book Reviews of Catholics are not only unengaged with the life-giving mysteries of their faith, but are even unaware of them. As last year’s Pew Forum survey on religious knowledge in America revealed—alarmingly— forty-five percent of American Catholics polled did not know that the Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the consecrated bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ (September 28, 2010, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life). There exists, then, a pressing need for accessible, sound teaching for the laity which engages both mind and heart to understand and love the sacraments, so as to live more fully for the praise of God’s glory. It is this need which the two short volumes reviewed here seek to address. Monsignor Peter Vaghi offers The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of the Faith. True to its title, the book is framed by the notion of the sacraments as various aspects of the Paschal mystery, the great mysterion, or saving work of God, in which the liturgy allows us to participate. In this, it refers to the second pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (“The Celebration of the Christian Mysteries”). This volume is part of a series on the Catechism, the “wonderful gift of the Church” (6), which, Vaghi comments, “is about recouping a sense of joy in being a Catholic Christian.” Teaching on the sacraments is especially needed today, to help Catholics to “see how each sacrament brings us in touch with the risen and living Jesus, the Jesus who died and rose out of love for us” (13). Throughout the book, Vaghi’s loving reverence for the Church and her sacraments is evident, as is his enthusiastic concern to help Catholics rejoice in the gift of encountering Christ in the sacramental liturgy. After an introduction to the sacraments as celebrations of the Paschal mystery, succeeding chapters treat each of the seven sacraments, in the order...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-9933
Print ISSN
1543-9925
Pages
pp. 202-207
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-24
Open Access
No
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