Romano Guardini (1885 – 1968) was a priest in Germany who wrote many books during his lifetime. In recent years his books have been reprinted once more in the English language. Such is the case with Sophia Institute Press and their release of Meditations Before Mass. This book was first published in German in 1939 than translated and published in English for the first time in 1956. The book is just as relevant today as it was then.
One thing to remember when reading the book is that is was written pre-Vatican II. Some of the text used throughout the book is that used prior to the changes made to the Mass after Vatican II. This by no means takes away from the beauty and usefulness of this volume.
The book is laid out in a manner that basically walks you through the Mass. From the time you enter the doors of the church to the end of the Mass and your expectant waiting for the return of Christ. The meditations within the book are practical and apply to us today even though they were written decades ago. The reason for this is that the Mass is timeless so his well thought out wisdom in regards to the Mass apply to all times.
Each of the thirty four meditations are designed to be used prior to Mass. Either in the pew or in your home before leaving, the meditations are certainly fruitful and will lead you to seeing things in a different light during that days Mass. Each of the meditations will take about 10 minutes to read so you will want to start them accordingly.
The early chapters of the book deal with how to approach Mass. Stillness, Silence and the Word, and Silence and Hearing, all deal with the value of being silent in the presence of God and how it important it is to focus and listen to the words being proclaimed at Mass. Next the book leads the reader through the different aspects of the Mass: The Sacrifice, The Altar as Threshold and The Altar as Table. The Eucharist is covered thoroughly in later chapters: The Bread of Life, Christ’s Offering of Self, Truth and the Eucharist and the Mass and The New Covenant. Many more topics are covered in between, these are just a few examples.
Overall I found the book to be a very compelling read. I believe anyone using this book will come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the Mass. This book is a true treasure waiting to be discovered and learned. Though written nearly 80 years ago, it is as relevant today as when it was first published.
I received a copy of the book for this review from Sophia Institute Press. If you would like to learn more or purchase a copy click on the title in the review above.