Monday, April 14, 2014

Behold the Mystery (Word Among Us Press)

Each season that passes I get dozens upon dozens of books to review. Some are requested by me. Others are sent in the hope that I will review them. I generally like to request the books I review, because I know and trust the author's. Occasionally though, I am pointed toward an author I have never heard of and wish I had heard of them sooner. Mark Hart is one of those authors. Those of you who already know him, know what I am talking about. Those who don't...well, let's just say,  he's not called the Bible Geek for nothing. Today, I am pleased to be reviewing his latest book, Behold the Mystery.

Behold the Mystery is a ten chapter, 200 page book on the Mass. Using the Bible as the backbone for this work, Hart explains the significance of topics such as tradition, priesthood, and community, to name a few. At the end of each chapter are four questions for both reflection and discussion. These can be used privately or in a group study, but each question really makes you stop and think. At the end of the book are two useful appendices. One appendix contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which are good for answering common questions of objections people have related to the Mass. The other appendix, "Ten Ways to Get More out of Mass," is solid gold advice, which  I hope to take to heart and apply each time I go to Mass.

Chapter Five on priesthood was hands-down my favorite as it provided both Biblical background for the priesthood and an eye-opening reality of the current priestly vocation. He writes, "The priesthood of Jesus Christ is an exercise in self-mastery and is rooted in deep mystery. It is enigmatic and often misunderstood. It has both a practical and a mystical dimension – earthly in its demands and ethereal in its directives." In this chapter, he describes the priest as a servant, as the sacrifice, and as a sinner. We too often put our priests on pedestals, but we have to remember that they our human too. This ties into his last major point of helping our priests. He says that we not only need to pray for them daily, whether we like them or not, but also assist them with other parish duties. For example if you have a finance background, offer assistance in that way. "The best way for our priests (and religious) to keep their primary vocations primary is for them to be healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically."

Behold the Mystery is a book that reflects its title so eloquently. Though it contains a step-by-step walkthrough of the Mass, this book is so much more than that. Mark Hart has poured his love of Christ and the Mass He instituted on these pages. While he hopes that the reader will grow to understand the Mass more fully, he also hopes that he will grow to love the Mass more fully as well.This is a great read for young and old, alike. I would recommend it for RCIA candidates, especially, but there is so much truth in here that will benefit cradle Catholics as well.

This book was provided to me for free by Word Among Us Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!