Literature; Religion; Theology
The essay entitled “The Redemptive Act of Reading: Richard Crashaw and the Teresean liturgy” written by Alexandra Finn-Atkins is centered on Richard Crashaw’s trilogy of poems dedicated to the sixteenth century Saint Teresa of Ávila. The trilogy consists of “The Hymne,” “An Apologie” and “The Flaming Heart” and makes a subtle comparison between the act of reading Saint Teresa of Ávila and the Christian liturgy. The essay innovatively analyzes the ‘Teresean liturgy’ established by Crashaw through the external and internal liturgical elements of the Christian liturgy that are used to describe Crashaw’s personal experience reading the religious writings of Saint Teresa. The presence of liturgical elements unites the personal aspect of devotional reading with the public aspect of the liturgy. The external liturgical elements include the tabernacle, the use of incense, the Eucharist and the Litany of the Book of Common Prayer, while the internal ones exemplify the glorification of God and the mystery of Redemption in Christ. In general, the subtle comparison between reading and the Christian liturgy allows Crashaw to exalt the trans formative power found in reading Saint Teresa and advocate for an unconventional type of reading – one that turns away from the mind and towards the heart.