The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister, available through Thomas Nelson Publishing, marks the fifth book in the Ancient Practices Series that I have read. I have not been disappointed by any of the books and have learned from them all. This volume was of particular interest to me since my own tradition does not place liturgy or the church calendar as a priority in our teaching or services. Through my personal studies (concerning the liturgical year), and my observations of real life becoming more fast-paced and hectic seemingly with each passing day, I (we) need a place of grounding that keeps us close to the work and revelation of God. I am sure the Liturgical Year is a divinely inspired tool for just such grounding.
For someone who has limited experience in observation and participation with the church’s liturgical year, I find the order and approach of Joan Chittister in this book very friendly. The book is extremely readable and easy to understand, I might even call it a primer for preparation to more comprehensive studies. One of the personal longings I have had is to enjoy unity and “connectedness” with the Church universal; all those calling themselves by the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. I think the Liturgical Calendar helps to facilitate this and Joan Chittister’s contribution to the Ancient Practices Series helps those of us who do not have a history of experience with it to join in.
I continue to use The Liturgical Year as a reference in my devotional journey for the 2009-2010 “Church Year.” As I experience this book for a second time, with a slower and more intentional meditative reading, I am all the more captured by the grace and wisdom with which Joan Chittister writes. See additional reflections and quotes from this book in my “Living the Liturgical Year” thread.