Brief Book Review: Faces of Easter

Faces of Easter: Meeting the Paschal Mystery in the People Around Us by Albert Holtz, OSB

Who’s it for? Beginners… Experts…  And those in between.

Why is this book useful? It is short – but rich.  The brief spiritual conversation starters for each day of the Easter season will raise examples that will remain with the reader through the day!

What will get you thinking? For each of the fifty different stories – encounters with God in and through encounters with real people – Holtz offers questions for guided reflection. How am I meeting God in and through the people around me?

Why does it matter? Most of us are quick to recognize God in scripture and liturgy (and even sometimes in the members of our faith communities).  But, especially in the midst of the busy-ness of Holy Week and the post-Triduum collapse, Holtz challenges us to recognize how God is present through and working in those whom we pass throughout our days.  Holtz’s offer of an Easter retreat is most welcome!

Implications. The disciples on the road to Emmaus recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread – and upon recognizing him, he vanishes from their sight.  He can be seen, suggests Luke, because the disciples welcomed the stranger.  So too, insists Holtz, the face of God, the implications of grace, are there to be noticed and celebrated in the faces of those around us.

Next steps. I am quite looking forward to returning to this book, starting with the Easter Vigil.  It is one thing to read a book for the purpose of review – it is quite another to read it as a source of prayerful meditation.  I cannot wait to read it again, lingering over the people, images, and experiences, so that they might intersect with my day.

Albert Holtz, OSB.  Faces of Easter: Meeting the Paschal Mystery in the People Around Us.  Liturgical Press, 2019.  139+x pp.


David A. Pitt is Associate Professor of Liturgical and Sacramental Theology at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa.

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