Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life

Wow. Joan Chittiser is such a good writer. I’ve really enjoyed her book The Liturgical Year. And if the title sounds a little bland, allow me to add the subtitle: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life. The phrase has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. I love Chittiser's use of language. Usually the word “spiral” is paired with the word “downward.” But the subtitle of this book evokes the image of an upward spiral--a gradual ascent to holiness. Here are some quotes that I've enjoyed...

“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” (page 4, emphasis added).

“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. The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in human ripening.” (page 6, emphasis added)

“The liturgical year is the process of slow, sure immersion in the life of Christ that, in the end, claims us, too, as heralds of that life ourselves” (page 13).

“Liturgical time is the arc that affixes the layers of life. It binds heaven and earth into one and the same rhythm. Rather than give ourselves totally to life as we know it here and now, liturgical time raises our sights above the dailiness of life to the essence of life” (page 39, emphasis added).

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