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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Work Play Love - Mike Aquilina

Work Play Love
How the Mass Changed the Life of the First Christians 
ISBN 9781640604254
eISBN 9781640604278
ASIN B0846K87WL
 

This is the twelfth volume from the pen of Mike Aquilina that I have read. And it is one of my favorites. This is one of those books that every Catholic, every Christian should read. And if we were to read and live it, it truly would transform our families, our workplaces, our nations and our world. I know more than a few converts to Catholicism, who were greatly influenced once they started learning about the early church. This volume delves deeply into the early church and what made it different, and how it transformed the world. The description of the book states:

“…The Mass was the reality most essential to the life of believers, and it deeply affected everything they did. In Work Play Love popular author Mike Aquilina shows how the Eucharist shaped three basic dimensions of life for the early Christians. Work. Christians brought the fruits of their labor to the altar—not only bread and wine, but also cheese, olives, honey, dried fish, and freshly pressed oil. As they worshiped, they consecrated the world itself to God. In turn, this affected the way they approached their work. It was not just toil. It was an act of love, undertaken for the Father. They labored in imitation of Jesus the laborer. Made one with Christians in the Eucharist, Jesus worked through them and in them. Play. The Mass was a leisurely, contemplative act, but it was celebrated on a normal workday in the Roman world. It was useless by the standards of the city. And yet it called forth—gently, gradually—the most creative responses. The Mass inspired new forms of music, poetry, architecture, and painting. At liturgy Christians stood back and reconsidered the cosmos from God’s perspective. They saw their lives as part of a profoundly new and different narrative. This made for new and different art. Love. Christian ritual demanded personal and communal acts of charity. The earliest descriptions of the Mass show the importance of the collection and its distribution to the poor, the imprisoned, and the home-bound sick. Deacons and deaconesses were dismissed to take Communion to the same people in need. The fruits of the Mass extended beyond the time of liturgy—and the bounds of Christian community. Christians took care even of their persecutors. …”

One of the passages in the book that hit me most was:

“The Mass makes Christians—that’s what this book is about. The Eucharistic liturgy isn’t just a nice little ceremony we made up to remember a historical event, like fireworks on the Fourth of July. The Mass makes our lives whole. All the useful work we do is bound up in it. All our playful joy comes out of it. And all our Christian love funnels through it.”

The mass is so central to our faith. It is about placing the mass first, and through that transforming our work and our play. It is a book that will help us find greater fulfillment at work, with our family and friends, in all we do. And should be central to our life. Mike writes so powerfully and passionately. That it is hard to not want to aspire to more. To life the life he is describing in this volume. This is a book that will leave you fundamentally changed. I will leave you with one final quote:

“Everything is measured against the Eucharist. This meal we share is what forms us as Christians.”

And so, I challenge you to read this book, and through the guidance grow in understanding, and be formed. Be well formed. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World
...

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna
...

1 comment:

Jacqueline Vick said...

And yet another book added to my list. I've read Mike Aquilina before and enjoyed/learned from his books.