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The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life - The Ancient Practices Series Hardcover – November 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: The Ancient Practices Series
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849901197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849901195
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, is a Benedictine nun and international lecturer who has been a leading voice in spirituality for over 30 years. She has authored 40 books, including her most recent, the critically acclaimed The Gift of Years.  

More About the Author

Joan Chittister, OSB (1936- ) is a Benedictine Sister of Erie, PA. She is the author of over 50 books--and has won fourteen Catholic Press Association Awards for them. Her latest, published in October 2014 by Twenty-third Publ. is Holy Yearnings. In September 2014 Orbis Books released: The Essential Writings of Joan Chittister, a collection of the best from her many books, interviews and articles.

Her book, The Monastery of the Heart: an invitation to a meaningful life, is prelude to a movement for all seekers: Monasteries of the Heart, recently begun by her Benedictine community. Sister Joan is an international speaker who inspires both her audiences and readers with her passion for justice, equality and peace, especially for women in both society and the church. She is a regular web columnist for the National Catholic Reporter (ncronline.org) and Huffington Post (Huffingtonpost.com). Her PhD is from Penn State University in Speech-Communication Theory, her masters from the University of Notre Dame. She serves as Executive Director of Benetvision, a research and resource center for contemporary spirituality. (joanchittister.org)

Customer Reviews

It's not that it's a bad book; just that it never really grabbed my attention.
Karl Dumas
Having read several of the books in "The Ancient Practices Series" edited by Phyllis Tickle, I was excited to get my hands on this latest offering.
Patrice Fagnant-macarthur
Their lives show us how the Christian life should be lived and that it can be done.
Janet Reeves

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Gerhardt on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A few months ago I signed up to review books for Thomas Nelson. It's not prestigious or anything--anyone with a blog can do it. I thought I'd enjoy it because in exchange for a review I get a free book. Nothing motivates me like free books.

This last book I read (The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister) was totally outside my paradigm. I'd heard of liturgy, but I really didn't know what it involved, what it looked like, or why people did it. After reading this book, I'm fascinated.

According to Chittister, "The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ. It proposes year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are--followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God."

She had me at "attune."

This book is a powerful explanation of the why of liturgy. It mines layer upon layer of meaning in even the most simple acts. Chittister won't let Christmas be about gifts or Easter about a historical event--she repeatedly emphasizes the importance of seeing Jesus' immediate presence and impending return in every commemoration of the past.

I love this book because it emphasizes the importance of living in concert with the life of Jesus, of allowing Jesus' life to inform and transform mine. I love, too, the idea of experiencing the full spectrum of life with Christ--uncontainable joy at Easter, deep sorrow on Good Friday, anticipation at Christmas, selflessness at Lent.

I like the idea of on-purpose emotion, of crafted experiences.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By jaigner on November 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
ancient practices: yes, please
My newest review in the Thomas Nelson Blogger Book Review program is by a Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister. It is called The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life and it is from "The Ancient Practices Series" which encourages Christians to draw upon the

It is not that I agree with Chittister at every detail, but that I strongly believe modern Christianity yearns for connection with the long tradition of faith and the freedom that is found in liturgy. Our church is fragmented and segregated by a pervasive pragmatism and hyperactive stimulus. We need the devotion and discipline Chittister outlines in this book.

When we participate in the practices of the liturgical year, our hearts participate in the life of Christ. We are connected more deeply with all who have heard His voice throughout the ages. A wholehearted, yearly revisiting of this cycle renews us, increases our faith and brings us face to face with the love of Christ and can make us more like him.

The framework of the liturgical year can actually bring us to the place in which we can meet Christ. Chittister gets this right. Exactly right. You will not find many specific ideas and methods, but that's not the point. If you're like me and were raised in a tradition that had little use for the richness of historical Christian faith, this book is for you. You need it, even if you don't think you do.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur VINE VOICE on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having read several of the books in "The Ancient Practices Series" edited by Phyllis Tickle, I was excited to get my hands on this latest offering. "The Liturgical Year" focuses, as the title suggests, on the feasts and seasons that make up our liturgical year. Sr. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine, was an interesting choice for the author of this book in this particular series. Overall, this series has had a decidedly evangelical bent and sought to present the ancient practices from a variety of religious traditions. This offering is 100% Catholic which I am sure aggravated many readers of this series. As a Catholic myself, I was thrilled.

Sr. Joan has a mixed reputation among Catholics. Many love her. Many hate her. Some of the books she has written have made my blood boil. Others have been very insightful. This falls into the latter category. It is a well-written introduction to the reasons for our liturgical year and the benefit found in following the seasons of joy and sorrow. Each year that we repeat the process finds us in a different place, with new insights and new wisdom and new challenges to be faced. The liturgical calendar invites us to once again experience Jesus' life and glean the lessons appropriate for us at that moment. "The liturgical year is an adventure in bringing the Christian life to fullness, the heart to alert, the soul to focus. It does not concern itself with the questions of how to make a living. It concerns itself with the questions of how to make a life."

The main focus of the liturgical year is the Easter experience. Yet the liturgical year contains four major kinds of celebrations. The first celebration is Sunday, the weekly remembrance of the Resurrection. Second, we celebrate two major seasons - Advent, before Christmas, and Lent, before Easter.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T. Kerns on November 17, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
The Liturgical Year-the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life by Joan Chillister
I was eagerly anticipating this book, the second from Thomas Nelson Publishers for Book Review by bloggers. I have a thirst for knowledge about the church and the liturgical year because I grew up in a baptist church and only recently began incorporating practices from the churches calendar into my life. I was somewhat disappointed with this book however.

It is written by Joan Chittister who is a nun, a member of the Benedictine sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is also a lecturer and has authored many award winning books. I found this book to be very textbook like and didn't find many practical ways to put into practice the liturgy she writes about. I think that was what my heart was seeking.

Advent will be here very soon. I relish the idea of waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Chittister said " The real power of the liturgical year is its spiritual capacity to touch and plumb the depths of the human experience, to stir the human heart." I think the advent season is where this begins. The beauty of advent is that it is a season of JOY.

Most of us celebrate Christmas, without giving any thought to the church calendar or how it fits into it. I have been studying the names of God so I found this quote on page 83 to be especially meaningful " He is Wisdom, Adonnai, Flower of Jesse's Stem, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, God of All the Earth, Emmanuel-God with Us."

One chapter that I did learn from was Chapter 16- Asceticism. The vestments at church are not something I am familiar with. This was interesting. The idea of Lent and how you can grow spiritually is very intriguing and challenging.

This is a very easy & quick read. I wish it were a little more informative. But it has whetted my spiritual appetite to seek out more info, I guess that is a good thing.
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