Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review :: Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass


Last month I shared a link to the brand new Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass from St. Augustine Academy Press in my Preparing for Christmas :: Seven Fun Finds for Advent post. My husband and I were each given a review copy before it was released and, since he is much more familiar and knowledgeable about the Traditional Latin Mass (and also such a gifted writer and better able to do this beautiful book justice!), I asked him if he would write the review to share here at Shower of Roses. Thank you, Sean! 



Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass by Lisa Bergman
St. Augustine Academy Press, 2014

How do you put to words the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist? How does one explain the source and summit of the Christian life, the most holy and sublime of mysteries? How can anybody describe the liturgical expression that the Universal Church has officially promulgated in the Traditional Latin Mass, now commonly referred to as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite?

No words can adequately explain the sublime mystery of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Lisa Bergman’s book Treasure and Tradition attains to man’s ability to put to words an explanation of the Sacred Liturgical Form of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Three words come to mind about the Latin Mass upon exploring it from using this Guide: Illumination, Appreciation, and Admiration.



Illumination. Treasure and Tradition acts as a beacon of light.  By definition a beacon is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location.  Indeed, it must be repeated that the mass is the source and summit of the Christian life.  Synthesizing Sacred Scripture, catechetical publications, historical and encyclopedic background, Bergman presents an illuminating and thoroughly researched resource for anyone old enough to read who would benefit to learn about the Roman Catholic Mass. In the book, the left hand pages are devoted to explanations of particular mass parts while the prayers that accompany those parts are included on the right side in both Latin and English. Bergman’s ability to incorporate images of sacred art and architecture reinforces the reader’s appreciation for the Church’s longstanding record of producing the most glorious artistic masterpieces in God’s honor. The images accompany explanations of the parts of the mass. Save for the short Bibliography and Devotionals sections, each and every page contains an illustration of some kind. Practically all of them are in full color. In the Guide, the reader will learn what is referred to as the Ordinaries and Propers of the Mass.  The reader will discover, with clarity and conciseness, the different forms of celebrating the Latin Mass, the Ecclesiastical Year, historical background of the mass, its sacrificial nature, and much, much more. The presentation and format is particularly well suited for teens, though adults without question will find the material in this guide exceptional.  Children and youth would likewise benefit, as the author walks the reader from the very basic understanding of worship to the most intricate detail.  The book truly is a guide - a beacon of light drawing interest to the Mystery of the Eucharist.  Like the mass itself, the guide is suitable for illuminating the widest possible reading audience on any level, including newcomers to the mass, non-Catholics, children, the poor, the advanced, and the indifferent.


Appreciation. The Latin Mass, on its own merit, evokes sentiments of gratitude and reverence. Treasure and Tradition dispels the apprehensions that an individual experiencing timidity or those harboring outright hostility may have towards this liturgical expression approved by the Church. Those witnessing a Latin Mass for the first time may first be struck by the silence and orderliness before them in both the sanctuary and the congregation. These characteristics are mere outcomes of a deeper affection: an endearing closeness to our Lord where the congregant both speaks to God from his heart and ardently listens to his tender promptings within him in the silence of the liturgy. The author explains the silence, the chants, and the order and reverence that this mass of the ages embodies.  This recalls the third discovered attribute of admiration.


Admiration. Through this book, the reader, whether a non-Catholic, newcomer to the Latin Mass, or experienced devotee will identify and realize a newfound recognition of the mass of the ages. The descriptions included in the Guide that explain the rituals and ceremonies prescribed in the mass reveal that the Church operates by the action of the Holy Spirit. The prayers, rituals and ceremonies weave an intricate thread, tying together the reality of Christ fulfilling the old covenant with the new. The reader, regardless of their denomination or spirituality will gain the understanding that the sacrificial aspect of the mass, both the priest's and ours, is not only very important, but necessary in our worship of the Almighty.


You can also find additional information about the Extraordinary Form in the archives:

16 comments:

  1. We received this book for Christmas and it is just beautiful. It is full of information and lovely pictures. Highly recommended!

    2015-01-25 19:28:35

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  2. Thank you for the review! It looks and sounds wonderful! God bless!

    2015-01-25 20:03:30

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  3. JMJ
    I purchased a copy for my husband for Epiphany and he really likes it.
    I'd like to use it in our curriculum with our younger group of children at home as a tool for instructing them about the mass. Even though we attend the Latin mass - we're fortunate and have an FSSP parish where we live - I think children and adults alike can benefit from a page by page instruction. I wonder if any lesson plans are forthcoming. :o)

    2015-01-25 20:35:41

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    1. I'm not sure if they have plans for lesson plans… St. Augustine Academy Press does offer a devotional book for Learning to Follow the Mass that I'm hoping to purchase for my children this Easter!

      Note: Learning to Follow the Mass can also be found at Amazon.

      2015-01-25 21:33:31

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  4. Thank you! Having never experienced the Latin Mass, this review alone makes me want to even more. This book is definitely going on my wish list. Quick question....There is a Latin Mass about 1 hour from me once per month. I would like to go with my older girls (7 and 9)...do I need to buy veils before we can go??? Thanks again.

    2015-01-25 20:52:50

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    1. Hi Sarah! I hope you and your girls do have the opportunity to experience the Latin Mass! While veils (or hats!) are customary and my girls and I love wearing them to Mass, they are not required for attending. You can read Cardinal Burke's statements on Head Coverings in Church here: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/head_coverings...

      2015-01-25 21:19:21

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  5. That is lovely! Maybe for our family Easter basket (your idea)!

    2015-01-25 20:56:46

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    1. YES! It is PERFECT for the Easter Symbols Family Basket! I'm hoping to update one of my past posts with some new ideas for this year and have been planning on including it in the suggestions! :)

      2015-01-25 21:23:20

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  6. Love the book can't wait to get it. Great review.

    2015-01-25 20:59:39

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  7. Hi Jessica, Just ordered the book after looking at the beautiful pictures of it and reading your husband's review. As a convert to Catholicism, I've only been to one Latin Mass. I was pretty lost but this book looks like it will be very helpful. Thanks for highlighting it. In fact, thanks for your blog. It's wonderful. dd

    2015-01-25 23:11:03

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  8. Thanks for the awesome review! I wanted to get it for ourselves for Christmas but wanted to know a little more about it. I will be buying for gifts too. It looks beautiful!

    2015-01-26 15:03:00

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  9. Sarah - although they aren't "required" and you won't get tossed out if you aren't wearing one, you may feel less self conscious if you are wearing one also, as my bet would be that the vast majority of the other women will be veiled.

    2015-01-26 16:40:26

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  10. Your husband is an excellent writer and able to convey spiritual substance to such weighty issues--timely in our digital age. I wonder where he attended and/or matriculated from university, college or technical school? I know that you were homeschooled and attended Chrisendom College in the Shenandoah Valley near Seton Home School (we use some of their materials for our home school and test with them); was Sean also home schooled?

    2015-01-26 18:56:32

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl! I need to convince him to write more posts to share here at Shower of Roses! :)

      No, Sean was not homeschooled. He attended a Catholic parochial school for K-8, a private Catholic college-prepratory high school, and then a state university. He is one of five children. His sister graduated from a Catholic college and his three brothers all entered military academies and were officers (Coast Guard & Marines) before entering the seminary and becoming priests. As for me, my parents started homeschooling us when I was in 5th grade. Before that I attended a private Pre-K and then a Catholic school in CA from K-5th. My parents pulled all of us out near the end of my 5th grade year when the school refused to discontinue the new "health" program they had just introduced. The transition to homeschooling was a difficult one for me and I always said I would "never do this to my poor children!" God definitely has a sense of humor! ;) And, yes, I did attend Christendom College for one year in 1997-98, before marrying Sean in 1999.

      2015-01-27 23:44:08

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  11. Wow! This looks really wonderful! Thank you so much for the detailed review! Having just moved and not being able to attend our beloved TLM, I was looking for something to help us stay " in touch" with it.... I'll definitely be ordering this!

    2015-01-29 00:40:37

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  12. nice

    2016-01-10 21:17:02

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