Liturgical Dogmatics

How Catholic Beliefs Flow from Liturgical Prayer

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How can we do dogmatics when there is an absolute difference between the Creator and the creature? God is literally indescribable: "not-able-to-be-written-down." We dare not say anything about God without his permission. We receive this permission in the liturgy that he has given us to celebrate.

God is incomprehensible, but he is not unapproachable. What cannot be fully comprehended by dogma can be approached when we liturgize God. Here God has given us access to himself, encourages our advance, attracts our deepest selves, elevates our natural desire, and amplifies our longing. But he must be approached correctly, and this is also taught us in liturgy.

What knowledge cannot fasten together, love can unite. There is a movement occurring between God and his children, and this divine economy is the subject matter of dogmatics. It is also exactly the definition of liturgy that this work assumes. Liturgy is the perichoresis of the Holy Trinity kenotically extended to invite our synergistic ascent into deification. The Trinity's circulation of love turns itself outward, and in humility the Son and Spirit work the Father's good pleasure for all creation, which is to invite our ascent into participation in the very life of God, which consists of glory, love, beatitude.

All chapter topics in this volume are subdivisions of this single story stretching from alpha to omega, and they all turn out to be liturgical verities. What dogma stammers to state, liturgy celebrates in mystical participation. Liturgical Dogmatics therefore examines dogma in light of liturgy. The whole sweeping, saving activity of God, as described by dogma, is the subject of this book.

David Fagerberg

David W. Fagerberg is Professor of Liturgical Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He holds an M.A. from St. John's University, Collegeville; an S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School; and the Ph.D. from Yale University. His books include Theologia Prima (2003), On Liturgical Asceticism (2013), Consecrating the World (2016), and Liturgical Mysticism (2019).


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