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By Louis Bouyer
The liturgy, in its essence, is a profoundly personal act; it is the supreme act of the worship, offered by the priest in persona Christi, on behalf of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. As such, it transcends mere ceremony, being rather a sacrifice of praise in the fullness of the term, an action in which the Church participates as a whole to the glory of God and the sanctification of souls. Describing and clarifying the nature of “liturgical piety” in all its richness and with all its implications over the course of nineteen cogent chapters, Louis Bouyer charts the course of the liturgy through the ages, detailing its intimate ties to the Jewish tradition, its development in the Patristic age, its roots in Sacred Scripture, and its role in the Christian Mystery as anchor for the entire sacramental order.
For the purpose of achieving “a true rediscovery of the liturgy which will be a new upsurge of its eternal vitality,” Liturgical Piety remains a sure source of insight and inspiration, revealing as it does that “the liturgy shows the distinctive features of the Catholic tradition in its most solemn form.”
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Louis Bouyer (1913–2004) was a member of the French Oratory and one of the most respected and visionary Catholic scholars and theologians of his time. Formerly a Lutheran minister, he entered the Catholic Church in 1939. Bouyer wrote over fifty works, including The Bible and the Gospel, Christian Initiation, and The Paschal Mystery.