Review of Joan Chittister’s The Liturgical Year

“Celebrating the liturgical year immerses us constantly, more and more deeply, always and forever into our encounter with God.”

Being born and raised in a non-liturgical Protestant environment, I do not recall hearing anything about Lent or Advent or Saints. As I have gone through adulthood, I have become more aware of Advent and Lent but the Liturgical (or Christian) Year has remained a mystery to me. So I approached Sister Joan Chittister’s (OSB) book, The Liturgical Year, with an open mind as to what the Liturgical Year (and calendar) truly means.

In a simple and engaging narrative, Chittister, a member of the Benedictine order, unfolds not just the names of the Liturgical Year, but provides the reader with some thought and soul provoking writing that makes the Year come alive as part of one’s discipleship. Written in 33 chapters of various length, this book starts your journey with Advent and concludes with, as far as the Liturgical Year, with Ordinary Time 2, that takes place between Pentecost and Advent. Sister Joan’s invitation into the rhythms of the church year is a pastoral invitation and an invitation into becoming, through the reoccurring cycles of the year, a more mature disciple of Jesus Christ. She also addresses some of the oft-asked question regarding the various dates of Christmas celebrated by different traditions within the Christian faith.

Several chapters also personally challenged me such as Chapter 6 “Human Time, Liturgical Time,” and Chapter 10, “The Voice of Advent.” If you are looking for a book that helps you understand the “seasons” of Advent and Lent as well as the reasons for a calendar that focuses on Christian faith development, I recommend The Liturgical Year.

(This review was written for the Thomas Nelson’s Blogger Review Program. In exchange for writing this review, I received a free copy of The Liturgical Year, for review and to keep for my personal library.)

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