Monday, May 13, 2013

Image Books: The Church

Well, we officially have less than a week of Easter left. We are entering the second half of the longest season of the Church Year - Ordinary Time. A lot of people, myself included, tend to flounder in this season. They have no fasting to re-focus their life, as in Lent or Advent, and no Great Feast to look forward to like Easter or Christmas. So instead of treating Ordinary Time as a dry season, pick up a book and learn something new. I recommend The Church by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina.

The Church begins simply by explaining what a church is and why people are willing to sacrifice so much and live in poverty to construct these lavish and ornate buildings. It then goes on to explain what THE Church is, as in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  He also explains some of the different names for it, including Mother and Ship to name a few. You may think this is all very basic information that most people know, but the book then progresses to my favorite part. It breaks down every aspect and feature of a church and explains the historical, physical, and spiritual significance of each feature.

Some features of a church might be obvious. For example, a lot of churches are cruciform shaped to represent the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Other features of a church though hold more significance than one realizes. The Ambo for example is the place where the Word of God is proclaimed. This is, in fact, a second table. The first table is the altar, where the Bread is broken. The second table is the Ambo, where the Word of God is broken.  To put it plainly, this is where the Sacred Scripture is opened, read, and explained to us. The most enlightening passage to me was the part on the Sacristy. Being a convert, I never had the chance to be an altar server, and so I have never experienced this room. It was truly enlightening learning the spiritual dimension of a space that seems to be a mere dressing room to many.

The Church is a 5 star book that is excellent for the convert and cradle Catholic alike. This building that so many take for granted is more than just a building. It is full of both physical and spiritual beauty and reading this book will open your eyes to all that beauty. So take the time to read this book and see how your church and the churches in your area compare to the descriptions in this book and to each other. Then, when you get done with this book, pick up its companion book called The Mass. You won't be disappointed with what you find.  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Some helpful links related to this book are below, and as always, if you found this review helpful please click the link and hit Yes!
More Info
Read Chapter One
Author Bio