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LTP: 1-56854-029-9 (CODE: LITSB)

The preceding two pages should not be called a table of contents. They don't give the reader the solid information one should expect. At best they look like the titles in a poetry anthology: useful only if you know what poem you're looking for.

But they do make an interesting list: "This Kiss Blends Souls"; "Smelling of the Good Work"; "Sing the World to Sleep." What are we doing here?

It was not obvious how to arrange these texts. Alphabetical by author as in some quotation collections would have been one way. Anything else risks editorializing. So let the reader beware! Your arrangement might have been far different. Every phrase in the contents list is taken from a quote, and those are the quotes that signal subtle or obvious changes of direction as you meander through this book (watch for the art in the margin and the changes in the running heads on each page). Second guessing the editor by mentally rearranging these texts would be an excellent thing to do. Another would be adding marginal notes for quotes that should have been included and were not.

Of what possible use is such a book? All the other books in this series have their times and occasions. This one does not. It is perhaps the weft to the warp of the others. But, like its subject matter, it has no obvious practicality.

The question behind this collection of texts is: What texts about the liturgy do you love? I sent that question to about 50 people: musicians, writers, artists, scholars, pastors and other practitioners. I asked them to think beyond the narrow confines and to remember fiction and poetry and all sorts of writing. More than half responded with far more texts than made the final cut. As would be expected, some of the same texts showed up from multiple senders.

These are the people to be thanked: John Baldovin, SJ; Eleanor Bernstein, CSJ; Agnes Cunningham, SSCM; Linda Ekstrom; Steve Erspamer, SM; Edward Foley, Capuchin; Mark R. Francis, CSV; Virgil C. Funk (with assistance from Nancy Chvatal, Gordon Truitt, Lisa Tarker); Genevieve Glen, OSB; Charles W. Gusmer, STD; Joan Halmo; Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ; Rosa Maria Icaza; Dennis W. Krouse; Gordon Lathrop; Ron Lewinski; Mary McGann, RSCJ; John Melloh, SM; Nathan Mitchell; Melissa Musick Nussbaum; David Philippart; Gall Ramshaw; Adam Redjinski; Mary Frances Reza; G. Thomas Ryan; James M. Schellman; Thomas G. Simons; Virginia Sloyan; Dennis C. Smolarski, sJ; Janet R. Walton; Louis Well.

This book, then, is simply the texts that have brought insight, delight and challenge to the people above in their love of liturgy. These are not necessarily the "important" texts in any scholarly sense. They are the texts that showed the way, the texts these people fell in love with, the ones they look at again and again and say Amen. It is no surprise then that we'll find a few quarrels among the texts on these pages.

Is there good balance here? It is probably too full of the last several generations. The number of women is not what it will be next time one of these books is done, nor is the proportion of texts from outside the European tradition. Quite probably there are some very recently written texts here that won't survive. The texts that come from surprising places (i.e., not books about liturgy and church) are numerous but perhaps not yet the proportion they could be. For all these reasons, let the reader beware!

Throughout the book, when non-inclusive language could be changed without calling attention to the change, this has been done.

These sourcebooks are for reading a little at a time, pencil in hand or at least always ready to fold over the corner of a page for a return visit. In some cases, with the help of the endnotes, the reader will want to find the place these words came from and read more and more. In other cases, an appropriate text might be clipped to find its way to a bathroom mirror or a sacristy door. The hope is that a few of them will, for each person who takes up this book, unfold and so make even more filled with mystery the rituals we have been given and are giving. - Gabe Huck (from the Introduction)

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