Friday, December 01, 2006

Three Gueranger titles by St. Michael's Abbey Press

On the Holy Mass
On the Religious Life
On the Immaculate Conception

Dom Prosper Gueranger
St. Michael's Abbey Press, 2006

I was recently very pleased to be sent copies of three of Dom Prosper Gueranger's lesser-known writings from St. Michael's Abbey Press, Farnborough, England as part of the “Farnborough Abbey Liturgy and Spirituality Series.”

As most will likely know, Dom Gueranger was one of the Fathers of the liturgical movement in its earliest incarnations in the 19th century. He was best known in the English speaking world for his momentous meditation upon the liturgical year, aptly named, The Liturgical Year.

In addition to this famed work were others, and the three available now from the Abbey Press include, On the Holy Mass, On the Religious Life, and On the Immaculate Conception. St. Michael's Abbey Press, as usual, have done a splendid job in binding the books, which come in high quality red cloth hardcovers with a thick paper stock dustjacket. It is worth mentioning that they would make a lovely gift item at this time of year in particular.

On the Holy Mass is Gueranger's commentary on the classical liturgy of the Church. Gueranger goes line by line through the liturgy and provides a commentary on the history and spirituality of the rite. Many such books were written in the 20th century, but if one were to have to choose a devotional and historical commentary out of all of these, then Gueranger's would most certainly be a good choice.

From the publisher: Guéranger loved, lived, and breathed the Roman Liturgy. A step by step guide, ‘on the Holy Mass’ offers some of his insights into the history and meaning of its prayers and ceremonies.

The work, though a commentary on the Roman Rite of Guéranger’s day, has much to offer the Church of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. In these days of widely-acknowledged liturgical crisis we need to be reminded of the history, character, the true texture of Catholic worship, the ability of the liturgy to do its own work without crass or illegitimate innovation, and that the priest is servant, not master, of the Church’s rites.

On the Religious Life is a commentary upon the principles of monastic life and spirituality, and in particular upon the Benedictine life. Inclusive in this, is Gueranger's writings upon the Divine Office and the excellence of the Rule of St. Benedict. Religious or not, these writings would serve as an excellent guide to the Christian life and vocation.

From the publisher: What are religious? What does the Lord ask of them? What should their interior attitude be to poverty, chastity, obedience, and to the everyday demands of life in a community?

Dom Prosper Guéranger’s monastic wisdom is offered to religious, clergy, and laity as an insight into the contemplative monastic life and as a primer for the spiritual life of every Christian.

On the Immaculate Conception is Dom Gueranger's contribution to the discussion surrounding the matter of the Immaculate Conception and is the first ever English translation of the work. This is a particularly interesting book from a historical (if not also theological) perspective as this book came four years prior to the definition of this as a dogma in 1854.

From the publisher: Four years before the Solemn Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, Dom Guéranger published his monumental work, Mémoire sur la Question de l’Immaculée Conception de la Très Sainte Vierge. With characteristic zeal and his outstanding sensus Ecclesiæ, he wished to share an enthusiasm and conviction which had been his since his seminary days.

This first ever English translation of the work is published as a collaboration between the Benedictine nuns of St Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, and the monks of St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, to mark both the 150th anniversary of the solemn proclamation of the dogma and the bi-centenary of the birth of Dom Guéranger.

Each of these titles are available for £13.95 (approximately $25.00 USD), and the quality and authorship merits it.

Those interested in the products might go to St. Michael's Abbey Shop.

While you are there, you might make note of another interesting title, particularly for those interested in English Catholic history:

A Sacrifice of Praise
by Dom Bede Camm

Product Description: Right in the heart of London, not a stone’s throw from Marble Arch is Tyburn. From 1196 to 1783 it was the site of the King’s Gallows, a place of shame to which many a common criminal made a one-way journey. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the ‘Tree of Tyburn’, the Deadly Never-Green Tyburn Tree was erected; a triple gallows which would serve to transform this place of shame into a place of glory as a steady procession of Catholic Martyrs pilgrimed heavenward by this route.

A Sacrifice of Praise is the remarkable story of a remarkable woman, Mother Marie Adèle Garnier, and of how, through her efforts, Tyburn is today the home of Tyburn Convent - the Mother House of a world-wide congregation of cloistered Benedictine nuns, and famous shrine of the English Reformation Martyrs.

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