Monday, July 18, 2016

Memorize the Mass! (Enroute Books and Media)

Dr. Kevin Vost is a professor of psychology and a prolific Catholic writer. He has written over a dozen books, but the two that I first read of his were The One-Minute Aquinas and The Seven Deadly Sins. The artwork on the cover of those books makes the deep subject matter more inviting to read. I recently discovered a new Dr. Vost book called Memorize the Mass! and it had the same inviting cover art, so I knew that I had to read this book too!

The book begins with an introduction on how the Mass and the Eucharist are at the heart of the Catholic life. Next, he tells us that the four main ends/goals are adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and prayer. He then goes on to tell us how despite having attended hundreds or even thousands of Masses, most Catholics don't know the Mass as well as they think they do. Therefore, his goal with this book is to get Catholics to better participate in Mass, and in doing so, better praise God. He concludes the introduction by explaining the "Catholic Art of Memory" and methods for memorization.

The book is then divided into two distinct parts. Part One covers the Novus Ordo Mass and Part Two covers the Traditional Latin Mass. The parts are then further divided into chapters according to large parts of the Mass (Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, Communion Rite, and Concluding Rites). Each chapter is then sub-divided into subsections. For example, the Liturgy of the Word contains First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation, Gospel Dialogue, Gospel Reading, Homily, Profession of Faith, and Universal Prayer. At the end of the book are three appendices. Two of them are mnemonic tables for both Masses (Novus Ordo and Traditional Latin), and the third discusses and defends the belief of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist.

Reading through this book was a very humbling and eye-opening experience, because it made me realize I do not know as much about the Mass as I think I do. The first part, naturally, proved the most beneficial to me, because it is the only Roman Catholic Mass I have experienced. (I have experienced other Catholic Rite Liturgies.) However, the second part proved to be the most interesting as I have never had the opportunity to attend a Traditional Latin Mass. Each subsection of the Mass contains not only the words of the prayers (where appropriate), but they also contain words of explanation and how to use his mnemonic method to memorize the Mass. I was hoping for a few more illustrations to help reinforce the mnemonic devices, but the ones that are there prove to be most useful. So no matter if you are an RCIA student, a 50 year old cradle Catholic, or a priest, you will find great value in this book, and I highly recommend it.

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