Catholic liturgy is far more than its texts. It is a synthesis that also includes several other elements—gesture, music, art, and architecture—which are aspects of the non-verbal language of the sacred and are what make the liturgy beautiful.
Father Lang's consideration of the beauty of the liturgy addresses the modern notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that the experience of beauty is entirely subjective. This idea makes it difficult to articulate criteria for what is beautiful, yet sacred liturgy does indeed have objective measures for evaluating its principal elements. Reflecting upon these and quoting from authoritative Church documents, Father Lang discusses sacred music, art, and architecture, and demonstrates how the beauty of these elements makes present the sacred.
Pope Benedict XVI said, "The greatness of the liturgy depends—we shall have to repeat this frequently—on its non-spontaneity." Continuous liturgical experimentation is unable to induce a sense of meaning or peace, writes Father Lang, because novelty does not satisfy the yearning for the Transcendent within the human psyche, which is rarely far from the surface.
"In this wonderful book, Fr. Lang explores the beauty of sacred symbols and actions in the Catholic liturgy and explains why their rediscovery is important in our modern age. Deserves to be widely read."
— Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
"There are many reasons to recommend this book, including its convenient gathering together of many sources and documents of the Church, its ample footnotes and bibliography, its concise summaries of key issues, and its evaluation of various viewpoints concerning the sacred in contemporary theology."
— Fr. Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B., Author, The Office of Compline