Here on earth we dream of Heaven. But this Heaven kisses earth on a daily basis. Sometimes I forget that amazing reality and I need to be reminded of just how incredible our Catholic Faith is.
Best Books about the Mass
Here are some books, (including a novel and children’s books!) to remind us of what Pope Saint John Paul II said about the Eucharist, that it is “the source of our happiness and holiness.”
Words and Actions
A Biblical Walk Through The Mass: Understanding What We Say And Do In The Liturgy by Edward Sri
In this book, Sri explains the biblical foundations of the Mass as well as the history and significance of the words and gestures we use. He breaks it down into a five part “tour” of the Mass.
It reminds us of the importance of common phrases said during the Mass. For example, we recognize the role of the priest leading the congregation into the Mass when we say “and with your Spirit.”
Then, in the Communion Rite, just as we asked for mercy in the beginning of the Mass, we do so again by begging the Lord’s mercy in the Agnus Dei. We start the Mass stating our unworthiness and move through the Mass being brought back to God. We are unworthy, but yet, Jesus still chooses to reside with us, and to enter under our own roof!
The 7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn
If you want your life to be transformed by the Eucharist, this easy-to-read book could be just what you are looking for. Like his chapter titled “We Don’t Just Receive” where he talks about how Communion goes beyond simply receiving, but is something that we enter into and is a way of uniting ourselves to Him.
This book will bring about an interior transformation of heart and of your daily life as you come to understand the power of the Eucharist. Foundations of what Flynn presents in this book come from writings of the Saints, Popes, and Scripture.
A Devotional Journey into the Mass: How Mass Can Become a Time of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion by Christopher Carstens
I know that I often take the Mass for granted, and can tend to recite the prayers out of rote memory rather than great devotion. Carstens lays out eight easy ways to approach the Mass with a more joyful and humble heart.
This book will be a help to make your prayers at Mass not only less mundane, but transform them into a personal conversation with God.
A list of action items can be found at the end of each chapter, to help foster a more intense devotion to the beautiful Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Mass in which we receive Him.
Scripture and Tradition
The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
Dr. Scott Hahn is a theologian and former Presbyterian minister. In this best-selling book he writes about how the Book of Revelation was the early Christian’s way of coming to understand the Mass.
He describes how the unusual and dramatic language we read in Revelation is also a reflection of the sacrifice and celebration of the Mass. Like in Revelation, when we read about the Lamb who was slain. This Lamb is Jesus Himself, the Lamb of God, who was slain to redeem us and who continues to pour out His Precious Blood for us at each Mass.
This book will help you to pray through the liturgy with a renewed perspective.
Understanding the Mass by Mike Aquilina
Aquilina presents one hundred commonly asked questions about the Mass and provides one-hundred simply laid out answers. This book covers history, like the Jewish roots of the Mass, as well as pure curiosity like, why some people receive Communion in the hand and others on the tongue.
This book will help you joyfully anticipate going to Mass while also making you better prepared for the beautiful celebration that it is.
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is the author of this great work on the Liturgy which will lead you to worship rather than routine.
Benedict promotes a movement to celebrate the sacramental liturgy properly, stemming from knowledge and understanding of the rites. His goal is to help us come to recognize that the Church is renewed by the celebration of the liturgy. The liturgy “is primarily concerned with reality, with the approach of a real creature to a real God” and this is constituted by the specific “forms of language, gesture, and instruments, their revelation, teaching, accomplishment and acceptance by the faithful.”
He shows both how and why the Church rises and falls with the liturgy.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal is the Church’s definitive document governing the norms of the Mass. The book provides in-depth information and guidance on an array of topics like the structure of the Mass, its elements and its parts, the different forms of celebrating Mass, and even the arrangement and ornamentation of churches for the celebration of the Eucharist.
The Mass is the center of the Christian life and the General Instruction is provided in order to bring order to the liturgy so that both the sacred ministers and the lay faithful may draw more abundantly from its graces.
Come Rack Come Rope by Robert Hugh Benson
This one-hundred year-old novel is a page-turning love story which takes place during the persecution of English Catholics by Queen Elizabeth I.
Robin Audrey and Marjorie Manners have promised one another that they would get married, yet they leave an openness to God’s will in the case that He has other plans. As the book progresses, Robin hears a call to the priesthood and Marjorie serves priests and Catholics by hiding them from the English authorities. While the story is fiction, it includes real life figures like Saint Edmund Campion and Mary, Queen of Scots.
This book is an entertaining way to increase devotion to the Mass, because we see devout characters who are deprived of the Mass, and the lengths to which they are willing to go to attend it. In these pages, the characters ache for the Sacraments but the priests are not allowed to administer them, making this book evergreen and easy to relate to today.
Books for the Kids
We Go To Mass by George Brundage
This sturdy board book has a “carry-me-along” handle and is perfect for standing up to heavy use. The colored illustrations and easy to understand text is a great way to start teaching little ones about the Mass.
A Missal for Toddlers by Elen Lescoat
This sweet little board book walks children step-by-step on how to follow along with the prayer and actions of the Mass by watching what a young sister and brother say and do as they participate in the Mass with their mom and dad.
Whether you go daily or weekly, when you participate in the Mass, you are far from alone. You are accompanied by more than your neighbors in the pews or those you entered the Church with. When you go to Mass you enter into the Heavenly realm.
What are some books that have helped you learn more about the Mass?
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