Review: Divine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death

Divine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and DeathDivine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death by Bruce T. Morrill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is thorough analysis of the theology and liturgy of the rites contained in the Pastoral Care of the Sick, drawing on the biblical foundations, historical developments, reformed liturgy, and pastoral praxis to draw some understanding from the pastoral-liturgical attachments to sickness and dying.

In his work, Morrill challenges some of the contemporary preconceptions about sickness and death that arise from the post-modern dependence on the biomedical understanding of these two parts of human life, and in doing so re-establishes a more existential basis to which the reformed sacramental rites of the Catholic Church speak.

Although heavy reading at times, I would strongly recommend this book for all those engaged in the pastoral care of the sick and dying, be they clergy or lay, as a means of deepening their understanding of the privileged place these pastoral-liturgical rites have in a Christian understanding of human wholeness.

From the back of the book:

Would many believers consider a wake or funeral an act of worship? What does it mean to say that in anointing the sick or administering Viaticum to the dying humans are healed? Such questions plumb the biblical and traditional depths of the paschal mystery. Just as Jesus’ ministry at the social-religious margins revealed the center of his faith in God’s reign, so also the church’s ministry to sickness and death reveals much about the baptismal and Eucharistic worship so central to its entire life.

In Divine Worship and Human Healing Bruce Morrill turns to the rites serving the sick, dying, deceased, and grieving to show why sacramental liturgy is so fundamental to the life of faith. Readers will appreciate both his compelling narratives from actual pastoral experience and his engagement with biblical, theological, historical, and social-scientific resources. Morrill invites readers to discover how the liturgical ministry of healing discloses God’s merciful love amid communities of faith.

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