Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Announcing Two New Books on the Liturgy by David Fagerberg

Many NLM readers will be familiar with the name of David Fagerberg, who has significantly enriched contemporary discussions of liturgy. I am pleased to be able to announce the recent appearance of not one but two new books by him. I've read Consecrating the World and my positive opinion of it is indicated in the blurb below, courtesy of the publisher's (Angelico Press) website.

On Mundane Liturgical Theology
(Angelico Press, 2016)

156 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62138-168-6
$17.95 US Buy now from
£11.50 UK Buy now from Amazon UK

WHAT HAS LITURGY TO DO WITH LIFE? The sacred with the secular? This study proposes that the liturgy calls us, in the words of Aidan Kavanagh, “to do the world as the world was meant to be done.” The sacramental liturgy of the Church and the personal liturgy of our lives should be as a seamless garment. Consecrating the World continues David Fagerberg’s exploration of the Church’s lex orandi (law of prayer) by expanding two major themes. The first considers liturgy as the matrix wherein our encounter with God becomes an experience of primary theology. The second illustrates how a believer is made ready for this liturgy through asceticism in both its faces — the one negative (dealing with sin), the other positive (dealing with sanctification). This book turns these two themes outward to a liturgical theology of the cosmos — a mundane liturgical theology of the consecration of the world and the sanctification of our daily life.

“David Fagerberg invites us, with the urgency of the gospel, to see God the Trinity in every created thing, and to offer to God as a joyful sacrifice of praise the good things He has made, rather than cleaving egocentrically to these good things. When, through the Dove (the Spirit), Christ frees us to do the world in this way, we become the liturgical priest-kings we were meant to be; we learn how to live and die on the ascending path of Christ. Steeped in the spirituality of the Orthodox East and the Anglican West, enriched by the Catholic masters of Ressourcement, Fagerberg shares his vision in everyday language for all to hear. Just when it seemed that spiritual masters no longer roamed university hallways, God has raised up a true spiritual guide for our time. Open this book, awaken from spiritual slumber, read and rejoice.”
—MATTHEW LEVERING, Mundelein Seminary
“Consecrating the World takes up where David Fagerberg’s masterful On Liturgical Asceticism left off, providing a key to living the liturgy in every moment and aspect of human life. That this is indeed an everyday task takes nothing away from its divine content and sublime finality. Fagerberg is rightly regarded as one of the foremost liturgical theologians of our day. His engagement with the tradition is both fresh and fruitful. If we are to be ‘thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy,’ we must grasp what the Sacred Liturgy in fact is. For this, Fagerberg is a worthy and rightly demanding guide.”
—DOM ALCUIN REID, Monastère Saint-Benoît, La Garde-Freinet, France
“Consecrating the World is no ordinary book. It is a course in re-training the mind and the senses to perceive the world in a new way. Like the ancient Fathers, David Fagerberg sees all material things as sensible signs leading us to heavenly realities. Like Maximus and Dionysius, he shows us that the cosmos is itself a liturgy, calling us to consecrate ourselves and our work, our passions and the world to God — to sanctify the temporal order. This is a theology most visionary, joyful, and passionate.”
—SCOTT HAHN, Franciscan University of Steubenville
“In David Fagerberg’s new book, his trademark genius for integrating liturgical theology, ascetical theology, and the theology of creation is on full display, but here developed in a new, pneumatological direction that seems to lift it all up on the wings of the Holy Spirit. This book fully corroborates Fagerberg’s reputation as one of the most creative and inspiring liturgical theologians of our time. It will have a wide readership both inside the academy, in seminaries, and in the hands of anyone interested in learning what is the deep connection between the sacred moments of the liturgy and the mundane moments of life in the world as we all must live it.”
—JOHN C. CAVADINI, University of Notre Dame
“This book succeeds as an imaginative, at times provocative paean to the total integration of liturgy and life, by carrying to the utmost the logic of the Incarnation and the radical challenge of the Ascension. Can God become flesh, as it were, in all the aspects of life? And can the whole of creation really be raised up on high, as a sign, even a foretaste, of the heavenly liturgy? Fagerberg’s arguments lead us to see the urgency of rediscovering the full symbolic richness, the ‘splendid beauty,’ of traditional liturgy as the means by which we must glorify God and divinize our lives in this world. The author has a particular gift for expounding old truths in startlingly original ways — enough to capture our jaded attention and make us rethink certain doctrines ‘from the ground up.’”
—PETER KWASNIEWSKI, Wyoming Catholic College

(Hong Kong: Chorabooks)
EBook (format Kindle)
ISBN 9789881482129
$8.99 (in all Amazon stores: USA; UK)

From the publisher:

Liturgy in recent years has returned to the center of the attention, thanks to the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. This is why it is always relevant to witness the release of a new book from Professor David W. Fagerberg, a world famous expert in this topic. This is an important short book for the Catholic understanding of the Mass and of the role of the liturgy in today's world. . . .

"Liturgy refers man to God, and God to man, even if we cannot know God in his full mystery": liturgy is the limen that allows us to look at a dimension that is beyond our understanding but that at the same time was made present thanks to God's incarnation. But we should avoid thinking that "humanizing" the liturgy will do us good: "We serve the glory of God, the glory of God does not serve us". Being reminded of this is very important, because we need to put always in the right hierarchical order the relationship we have with God. Several themes are touched in this book, as teleology, asceticism, ecstasy, and so on.

When talking about asceticism this is what Professor Fagerberg has to say: "I propose that liturgical glorification of God is a daughter born of asceticism. We need to undergo the ascetical technology of self, and make our wills conform to God’s, before we can worship and glorify him properly. Each person is a block of marble within which lies an image of the image of God (Jesus), and each strike of mallet and chisel by the Holy Spirit frees that image from stone-cold vices in order to create out of women and men a liturgical son who shares the Son’s filial relationship with God the Father. At the end of asceticism is dispassion, which has a child called love, who opens the door to the cosmos as theophany, and invites us to a union with God that is true theology. Purity of heart is to will one thing – we hear this from Evagrius in the desert, from Augustine in the ancient Church, from Petrarch in the medieval Church, and more recently from Kierkegaard. If we are to do the world the way the world was meant to be done, then the Holy Spirit will have to craft our hearts until we only desire one thing, too. The pure in heart are blessed because they shall see God (Matthew 5). The purpose of liturgy is to glorify God, but our ability to do so comes at a price: it is born of asceticism."

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