Item #: 1229-4
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Meditations and Prayers along the Way

Author: Kenneth W. Peters
Copyright: 2006
First Printed: 08-15-2006

In 64 brief meditations on each detail of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the reader is led to a deeper appreciation of that celebration which has been at the center of the spiritual formation of the faithful from the time it was instituted by Christ 2000 years ago. In the Introductory Rites, for example, we pilgrims on the spiritual journey go through a purifying formation. We repent of our sins and faults and God cleanses us. In the Liturgy of the Word, we are enlightened in the ways in which we can imitate Christ who instructs and accompanies us on our day by day journey through life. This is the path of illuminating reformation. And in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are invited to the banquet of the Lord where we are nurtured and given the strength to live the Christian life in our daily pursuits. The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ become our food and bring about in us a unifying transformation wherein we surrender to God in faith and trust and the Blessed Trinity deepens its life in us. In breaking down each part of the Mass in this fashion, the book confronts the reader with practical challenges for action as it opens up the hidden mysteries of the Holy Sacrifice that we so often take for granted

About the Author: Kenneth W. Peters was associated with the National Catholic Register System of Newspapers from 1954-1962 and was editor of Ave Maria publications, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN from 1962-1991. He served for a number of years as Associate Editor of Ave Maria Magazine and as Editor of Spiritual Book Associates. From 1991-2001 he was active in the Association of Theological Schools Epiphany Lay Formation Academy (ELFA), Pittsburgh and Indianapolis with spiritual mentors Father Adrian van Kaam, C.S.Sp., Ph.D., and Susan Muto, Ph.D. Recently he has made presentations at Memorial Hospital's Leighton Center for Senior Health and the Forever Learning Institute in South Bend, IN, also visiting the Holy Cross Care and Rehabilitation Center in South Bend as part of its Spiritual Care Program.

Book: 144 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8189-1229-0
Prod. Code: 1229-4

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This practical volume is an elaboration of the traditional path toward conversion through the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways. Ken Peters shows how these elements are integrated according to the "formative spirituality" program of Adrian van Kaam, C.S.Sp. Peters explains, "In this task of sharing the spiritual wisdom of the ages, we will rely heavily on the spirit and work of [van Kaam]... of the discipline and practice of formative spirituality..., purifying formation, illuminative reformation, and unifying transformation."
          Peters, one of the Midwest Province's Holy Cross Associates, indicates that, "For our purposes in relation to the Mass, we name these three traditional paths "as did van Kaam above." The author goes on, "The result of a faithful living out of this spiritual journey is the formation of Christian character, designated here as 'The Way of Contemplative Presence,' and the life of the Trinity in thought and action in the world." He goes on to say, "The spiritual experience of this traditional spiritual journey is an awesome possibility as we live the Mass. Reflection and prayer will help us to make it real.
          The author advises, "This is a book of meditations, not a book to be simply read through, though it can be if one is just checking out the book informally." He writes well, so it's no chore to read his text. He goes on to separate his consideration of the parts of the Mass into "the introductory rites, the liturgy of the word, the liturgy of the Eucharist, and 'the way of contemplative presence in the world.'" The latter constitutes the dismissal, the "being sent," as a Christian presence in and to society.
          The book is, then, a brief but meticulously inclusive look at the challenge of each part of the Mass, a challenge to us to awareness of the Eucharist and its potential to be for us, "the central act of our daily life".... How often do we, in a sense, "parse" the Mass for ourselves, taking it part by part, looking for the relationship of one part with another, yet trying also to gain a greater appreciation for the meaning and purpose of each? These reflections help us to reevaluate our personal participation in the Eucharist, yet they also invite us to "think community," to become more aware of the Mass as a communal exercise and how over time we may well have begun to take for granted both the spiritual value of our participation even to the extent of beginning to lose a sense of the intangible and infinite value of what we are doing.
          Peters shows a truly profound understanding of the Eucharist. He says, "At Mass we learn that we have been 'pre-formed' in love in God's image and likeness, and that we are always becoming the unique original 'I' that God, in loving kindness and goodness, created us to be. We are always 'on the way' of faithful formation, re-formation and in hope, graced transformation...." --Br. Philip Armstrong, C.S.C., in Midwest--Midweek, the Newsletter of the Brothers of the Holy Cross, Midwest Province, Notre Dame, IN, November 15, 2006

In this slim volume, South Bend author Ken Peters gives Catholics a fresh way to look at the Mass. His meditative reflection juxtaposes the progression of the Mass to an individual's spiritual journey from purgation through illumination to union with Christ. Peters takes one section or phrase at a time from the Mass, and suggests how to enter into each more attentively, experiencing purifying formation through the penitential rite, illuminative reformation through the Liturgy of the Word and unifying transformation through the Liturgy of the Eucharist. He concludes by showing how the dismissal empowers us to remain in Christ so we can act contemplatively in the world.
          I found particularly inspiring Peters' meditations on the Eucharistic prayers, including such phrases as "take away the sins of the world" as applied to us in our union with Jesus Christ. In just over 100 pages, Peters can only hint at the richness of the spiritual masters. He draws heavily from the work of Father Adrian van Kaam, C.S.Sp., and Dr. Susan Muto, occasionally leaving the reader floundering in jargon such as "self-alienation" and "pre-transcendent natures," which would have been made more comprehensible by real-life examples. I would have appreciated as an appendix the entire text of the eucharistic prayers. However, this is a powerful little book providing a fresh perspective on rituals we too often take for granted. --Today's Catholic, October 22, 2006

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