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May 9, 2017

Book: Liturgy and Personality
Author: Dietrich von Hildebrand
Helicon Press. Steubenville, OH. 1960. Pp. 137

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The principal point of the book you are about to read is that the liturgy of the Church decisively shapes a healthy personality. Hildebrand insists throughout the text that the primary purpose of the liturgy is not to form the personality but to give proper praise to God, the supreme value. Nevertheless, precisely by ordering human beings so thoroughly to God, the liturgy does in fact, as a derivative effect, contribute to their flourishing.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The meaning of all creation is the imitation and glorification of God, the inconceivably glorious and holy One. That which is created --- whether it belongs to the domain of pure matter, as the sea or the mountains; or to the realm of organic life, as the plant and the animal; or to the sphere of spiritual things, as a work of art, a cultural epoch, a community, or the spiritual person himself --- exists only in order to imitate and glorify God, in fulfilling the divine idea in its regard, and simultaneously bringing to fruition the fullness of values to which it is ordained. For all values --- goodness, beauty, the mystery of life, the noble light of truth, and even the dignity of being itself (as opposed to nothingness) --- all these are rays which radiate from God's being, who is all holiness. Whatever good and beautiful, all that possesses a value, is a reflection of His eternal light and imitates God according to its own fashion.

Values are not only like a dew falling from heaven, but also like incense rising to God; each value, in itself, addresses to God a specific word of glorification. A being, in praising God, praises Him through its value, through that inner preciousness which marks it as having been drawn out of the indifferent. Nature praises God in its beauty not only by speaking of God to man and inspiring him to praise God, but also by the silent praise rising from its own beauty.


1. The liturgy and the vocation of man

2. The essence of personality

3. Liturgy and personality

4. The spirit of communion in the liturgy

5. The spirit of reverence in the liturgy

6. The spirit of response-to-value in the liturgy

7. The spirit of awakening in the liturgy

8. The spirit of discretio in the liturgy

9. The spirit of continuity in the liturgy

10. The organic element in the liturgy

11. The classical spirit in the liturgy