Book Notice: John Henry Newman - On Worship, Reverence and Ritual

By way of a quick book notice, I wished to mention to LAJ readers that a compilation of the liturgically oriented writings of John Henry Newman (recently canonized) has been edited and published by Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski: John Henry Newman on Worship, Reverence and Ritual.

From the back cover:

"The life and thought of John Henry Newman were permeated with the ceremonies and hallowed texts of Christian liturgies, which he celebrated for over six decades. The 'ordinances' of the Church, her rich panoply of rites handed down through the centuries, are, for Newman, doors or windows into the heavenly society for which we were created. As Newman says in a number of places, we are given our time on earth to begin to live, through personal prayer and corporate worship, the life of the blessed in heaven."

"This volume gathers over seventy texts from all periods of Newman's long career. Forty-four of Newman's incomparably great sermons are included in full. That Newman deserves his reputation as one of the finest spiritual writers of modern times and the greatest prose stylist of nineteenth-century England is abundantly demonstrated in these spirited and subtle reflections on the duty of reverence, the benefits of ritual, and the privilege of divine worship."

While this book isn't directly related to liturgical art, certainly Newman and the Oratories in general have a reputation for the promotion of excellence in both liturgical service and liturgical art. These reflections, then, help lay bare the foundations from which this reputation arises.  It is, after all, surely the case that good liturgical art flows best from a good liturgical formation and there are few better tutors than Newman.

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