Review: Unsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature Of Liturgy

Unsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature Of LiturgyUnsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature Of Liturgy by David N. Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although originally published in 1984, the republished version of David Power’s book is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago, particularly, I would suggest, in light of the renewed translation of the Roman Missal. The book can be hard going at times – in the more philosophical sections – but for those who persevere there are true riches to be found within the pages of this book.

For anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the nature of liturgy, and the fundamental role of symbol within the liturgy, this a book that sets out the basis of further reading and reflection. The inclusion of a comprehensive bibliography and index will greatly assist that process.

From the Introduction:

This study has two aims. The first is to relate studies on symbolism and its modes to an understanding of the liturgy. The second is to relate these studies to the renewal of the liturgy in a time of crisis at this point…

The crisis as it touches on liturgy is twofold. First there is a crisis of vision and second a crisis of hope. The churches are forced to aks how well the vision of reality, or the world view, projected in liturgical celebration expresses a sense of being in time and a sense of the holy that are pertinent to contemporary fact and contemporary models of reality. This is the crisis of vision. At the same time, the churches are part of a humanity which lives in a time of disintegration and destruction, a humanity continually compelled to consider there are any hopes by which it is possible to face the future. The despair of the age is represented in the twofold holocaust of the century. There is the holocaust of the Jewish people under the Nazi regime, and there is the imminent nuclear holocaust which threatens the entire world. Can those who profess faith in Jesus Christ profess it in such an age?

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