Catholic Medical Quarterly

The Journal of the Catholic Medical Association (UK)

Building knowledge. Building faith. Protecting the vulnerable.

Book Review

Lost In Wonder
Essays on Liturgy and the Arts

Aidan Nichols O.P.
ISBN 9781409431619

Book coverHow ought we to live our lives as Christians? The Catholic theologian Aidan Nichols makes a persuasive case for Christianity's capacity to inspire high culture in this fine work. In the liturgical life, and indeed in all aspects of life, we long for the beauty that is God.

The title comes from Wesley's hymn "Love Divine, all love's excelling." God alone is the ultimate object of our wonder and His beauty is found in all of creation and, in a particular way, it is found in the Cross and Resurrection of the Saviour. From this reflection, the author moves on to a whole series of topics including the liturgy, art, creation and science.

The author shows us the need for beauty in the liturgy. We need to be lost in wonder in the presence of God, to move away from all that is self-centred.  We are saved by beauty and the prayer of the Church is the central means of celebrating this beauty of God. But can we ever achieve this in the messiness of our daily living? The author reassures us that the only perfect liturgy is that celebrated at the throne of the Lamb.

The author reminds us that both science and art are essential components of our life and they complement rather than contradict. They ask  a different series of questions and we are called to respond in wonder to both. There are many scientists who are directed to the divine through their work.  Others, more popular in the media, are philosophical materialists and they take this philosophy with them to their work. Unsurprisingly, they see hostility between a non-existent God and science. The author predicts that there will be a move away from this scientific fundamentalism as more and more scientists are lost in wonder.

In this work, Aidan Nichols has returned to some of his favourite themes.

A good work by a really good theologian.