Review: The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy: School of Prayer, Source of Life

The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy: School of Prayer, Source of LifeThe Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy: School of Prayer, Source of Life by Goffredo Boselli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book both affirming and challenging, delving into an area of thought that had been occupying my mind (at least in the background) for some time. Boselli’s focus on the power of mystagogy as a methodology of reflection on liturgical celebrations and praxis is, as he rightly points out, not something that is often embraced or reflected upon. Yet I can’t help but wonder, in the era of the New Evangelisation, whether relearning this art and method of theological/liturgical reflection will help the Church of the 21st century reawaken the understanding and experience of the Christian faith.

This appears to be Boselli’s basic thrust and argument, and he provides much useful insights to support his claim that seeking to live a Christian life to the full requires individuals and the Church generally to reflect not only the Scriptures but also on the liturgical life of the Church that gives the Scriptures context. Boselli argues, quite convincingly, that without the reflection on liturgical praxis and experience, the Christian life will be less than what it could be.

From the back cover:

“I am increasingly convinced that the decisive question that demands an answer from us is not so much how believers experience the liturgy, but whether believers live from the liturgy they celebrate”

With these few words Goffredo Boselli captures the essence of this present work. Believers can celebrate the liturgy through their lifetimes without ever really drawing their lives from it. And this is true of all believers – laity, clergy, or monastics. More than a century after the start of the liturgical movement and half a century after the start of the postconciliar liturgical reform, we must ask the difficult question of whether the liturgy has or has not become the source of the spiritual lives of believers. For only by living from the liturgy can they receive the nourishment necessary to maintain a life of faith in today’s world.

In The Spiritual Meaning of the Liturgy, Goffredo Boselli – one of Europe’s foremost liturgical theologians – offers and accessible and important guide for both scholars and interested laypeople to understand the meaning that permeates the liturgy and its implications for daily living. Readers will find here a resource to help understand the liturgy more fully, interiorize it more effectively, and live it more authentically.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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