In One Ordinary Sunday the popular, award-winning writer Paula Huston draws on her spiritual wisdom and her talent as a novelist to provide both a moment-by-moment record of her experience of one particular Mass on one particular Sunday in her home parish in California and a theologically and historically rich exploration of the origin and meaning of the liturgy.
For Catholics, the Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life,” as the documents of the Church put it. Yet many Catholics might confess to not understanding in any depth what goes on in an “ordinary” celebration of the Eucharist. In perhaps her most compelling and original book to date, novelist and spiritual writer Paula Huston guides us through a Mass on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time at her home parish in Arroyo Grande, California. Huston’s personal and spiritual reflections offer fresh and often unexpected insights into the profound mystery at the heart of the Catholic faith.
A natural storyteller, Huston deftly illuminates what might seem either mysterious to those unfamiliar with the Mass or overly familiar to those who have lost an appreciation of its mystery. In the Mass “we are healed and restored and spiritually fed,” she writes. “We are handed strong armor against evil. We are unified and made whole as a people and as a Church. We get a little taste of heaven.”
Readers of this book will learn
how our confession of sins at the beginning of the Mass differs from the sacrament of Penance;
what it means to say that the Mass is a sacrifice;
why the prayers of the Mass, especially the Gloria, are full of scriptural allusions;
what the purpose of the Eucharistic Prayer is; and
what happens at the consecration of bread and wine and how it is the most profound mystery and miracle of the Mass.
One Ordinary Sunday is for all Catholics, especially those who have questions about the basic practices of their faith, who are new to the Church and still somewhat baffled about its rituals of worship, or who have left the Church behind but still feel like part of the family.
Features & Benefits
The author of eight previous books and a professor of creative writing, Paula Huston has been an award-winning novelist, memoirist, and essayist for more than twenty years.
Huston’s 2003 book, The Holy Way, was an America magazine monthly book club selection, a Catholic Press Association award-winner, a Catholic Book Club major selection, and a bronze medal-winner from Foreword magazine for Book of the Year in Religion.
Huston maintains an active speaking, teaching, and retreat schedule around the country, with a strong presence in California and on the West Coast.
"To say I loved this book would be an understatement."
"To say I loved this book would be an understatement. Paula Huston caught me up in her writing about the ordinary in Ordinary time and she sun-laced the quotidian again and again and again with that sense of kairos. What she has done is record in a single summer Sunday Mass what millions of Catholics have experienced many times over, using storied language that captures the sacred transfiguring of the gray, foggy everyday of our ordinary lives. Her worries are our worries, her doubts our doubts, her convictions our convictions, beautifully rendered and surprised by joy. I want to share what Huston has given us with as many people as I can. Bless her for writing this book and sharing an ordinary Sunday Mass which, like da Vinci’s Last Supper, manages to capture the divine amidst the turmoil and confusion of Christ’s breaking of the bread on the night he was betrayed, when he gave himself, as he continues to give himself and as only God can."
and author of Thirty Days: On Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius
"This book will do much good."
"Paula Huston does for us in the twenty-first century what Ambrose and Cyril did for Christians in the fourth. She wants us to know that an extraordinary thing happens at Mass on every ordinary Sunday. To her task of opening up the mysteries she brings a novelist’s sense of drama and descriptive power as well as a convert’s sense of discovery and wonder. She has made something beautiful for God and for us. This book will do much good."
Author of The Mass of the Early Christians
"I loved this book."
"I loved this book. Avoiding the dull abstractions and overly philosophical notions of catechisms, Paula Huston educates the reader about the feel, history, and graces of the Mass and provides fascinating details about the purpose and meaning of its actions and symbols. One Ordinary Sunday will be illuminating not just for regular parishioners but for those who stand outside the Church and wonder what those Catholics are up to."
Author of Mariette in Ecstasy
"An unusual form of autobiography."
"Paula Huston has written an unusual form of autobiography: a story of her soul, narrated while she and her family are in attendance at an ordinary Sunday Mass. This is a ‘convert story,’ but one very different from The Seven Storey Mountain of Thomas Merton or The Golden String of Bede Griffiths."
Rev. Thomas Matus, O.S.B. Cam.
Author of The Mystery of Romuald and the Five Brothers