The Church’s liturgy is an appropriate object for academic study, but it is first and foremost the object of the faithful’s participation in divine worship, the site of humanity’s deification by the Trinity. The liturgy is thus not just something that we can look at, but, like a window, it is also something we can look from, viewing other matters of Christian doctrine and practice—indeed, the entire created world—through the lens of the liturgy.
In this collection of essays representing nearly two decades of writing and reflecting on liturgical theology, David Fagerberg sets out to explore the liturgical cosmos, attending to how the lex orandi of the liturgy illuminates and shapes the lex credendi of the Church’s faith and the lex vivendi of the Christian moral life. Addressing such topics as asceticism, beauty, Scripture, spirituality, sacrifice, and social renewal, The Liturgical Cosmos directs our gaze to the ways in which the abundant life that Christ came to offer—a life communicated sacramentally and celebrated cultically—is a life lived daily, and liturgically, as the Holy Spirit refreshes our world and conforms us to Christ, the image of the Father.
David W. Fagerberg is Professor Emeritus of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He holds an M.Div. from Luther Northwestern Seminary; an M.A. from St. John’s University, Collegeville; an S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School; and a Ph.D. from Yale University. His work first explored how lex orandi is the foundation for lex credendi (Theologia Prima, 2003). To this he integrated the Orthodox understanding of asceticism as capacitating the liturgical person (On Liturgical Asceticism, 2013). He applied this to our liturgical life in the world (Consecrating the World, 2016) and then to our interior liturgical life (Liturgical Mysticism, 2019).
“David Fagerberg draws an impressive range of theological voices into a profound conversation that elucidates how the Church’s divine worship prepares us beyond all human limitation to share in the communion of love that is the Blessed Trinity. The masterful essays collected in this volume explore how the mystery celebrated in the liturgy overflows into the whole of human life and orders it towards its supernatural end. I warmly recommend this book to all who want to deepen their appreciation of how the liturgy expresses the Christian faith’s understanding of God, the world, and ourselves.”
Fr. Uwe Michael Lang
St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London
“The Liturgical Cosmos shows how the liturgy illuminates and clarifies the purpose of the interior life, of the ascetic impulse, of the Church, and of the cosmos as a whole. Nobody makes the case for such an expansive view of the liturgy as well as Fagerberg, who invariably challenges us to think anew of the Christian mysteries and to open ourselves to their transforming power.”
Jonathan Martin Ciraulo
St. Meinrad Seminary
“David Fagerberg has dedicated his life’s work to deepening and ‘thickening’ our understanding of what the liturgy is and does in the life of the Church. The Liturgical Cosmos beautifully illustrates how liturgy is a point of synthesis at the very heart of Christian life, an intricate web woven around strands of asceticism, mysticism, eschatology, and the entire cosmos.”
Kevin D. Magas
University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary
“Throughout his career David Fagerberg has labored to bridge the gap between scholarship and the real-life practice of Christianity itself, publishing extensively on liturgy as the original theology (theologia prima) and the need to accompany it with a lived and genuine liturgical asceticism. This new publication will help readers of many persuasions to appreciate liturgy as the practice of authentic theology and an opportunity to meet the living Christ who is present in the celebration of the liturgical mysteries.”
Fr. Neil Xavier O’Donoghue
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland