For several years now I’ve been wanting to try observing Lent. I didn’t grow up in a church that observed any of the liturgical year (except Christmas, Good Friday and Easter), and I was curious. But I didn’t want to jump into a long period of fasting without understanding why people give up something before Easter. I received a copy of The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister from the publisher in order to review it. In reading it I hoped to understand Lent, and also to see what the rest of the liturgical year was about.
Most importantly, after reading this book, and specifically the chapter on Asceticism, I felt ready to observe Lent. Because of that I got the main thing I wanted to out of this book. There was also an excellent chapter on joy, and Chittister’s writing style was very poetic. However, I would have loved to learn more about each feast itself. I felt that the reader needed to already have a somewhat working knowledge of the liturgical year to understand this book. I would have liked to have learned how the feasts are observed. The beginning chapters were a bit long as well. Less telling us what we’re going to read about and more meat in the book itself would have been nice.
All in all, The Liturgical Year was a helpful and beautiful read.