Monday 21st April 2014

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . A Marvel To Behold

January 8, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN

A Sense of the Sacred: Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages, by James Monti (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 684 pp.; $34.95. Available through www.igna
tius.com or call 1-800-651-1531.

A monument of meticulous historical scholarship, a Herculean work of research in ancient liturgical texts, and a comprehensive account of medieval manuscripts, missals, and manuals, this book scrupulously documents the riches of the Catholic Church’s traditions that form the rubrics of the sacraments, the holy days of the liturgical year, and the other rites of the Church celebrated in events like the election of a Pope, the canonization of saints, and the consecration of virgins.
The riches of symbolism, the beauty of language, the holiness of ceremonies, and the exalted nature of sacred events discovered in these venerable treasures of the Church’s history fill the mind with a sense of awe and sublimity. This fullness of the riches of the Church’s liturgical art is a marvel to behold, like seeing St. Peter’s Basilica.
All the details, words, and actions of these ceremonies evoke beauty, history, and meaning. In the case of matrimony, for example, from a nuptial rite from fifth-century Spain, one hears the poetry of prayer at its highest: “May the fragrance of your life be redolent as a white lily, that you may ever ascend in mind toward Heaven. . . . May the Lord of celestial glory and the King of all ages bless you.”
From the Old Testament one hears the prayer of Sarah’s father that blessed her marriage to Tobias (“‘Here she is; take her according to the law of Moses, and take her with you to your father.’ And he blessed them.”). This is an event that sets the precedent for the solemn importance of a priest’s blessing of the couple “whose presence as a witness was defined as essential to the valid and licit reception of the sacrament.”
From Hugh of St. Victor comes the comparison of the union of bride and bridegroom to the love between Christ and the Church — an image that a 1488 custom from Switzerland illustrates with the exchange of rings and the accompanying words, “With His ring my Lord Jesus Christ has espoused me, and just as a bride He has adorned” (words recited in the rite of consecrating virgins).
All these readings, gestures, and ceremonies form a rich tapestry in which every thread contributes to the sanctity and beauty of marriage. These rites illuminate the spiritual riches of sacramental experiences.
In the case of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the same liturgical norms of beautiful art, biblical precedent, and exalted prayer shape the rite of Extreme Unction. From a tenth-century prayer for visiting the sick are these eloquent words inspired from biblical history: “Deliver him, Lord, even as you vouchsafed to deliver Adam from hell; Peter from prison; Paul from chains; Thecla from beast; Susanna from false accusation; the paralytic from his cot; Lazarus from his tomb.”
From St. Thomas Aquinas is the rationale for the use of oil to anoint: spiritual healing requires mildness, not severity: “It ought to be gentle, lest hope, of which the dying stand in most need, be shattered rather than fostered. Now oil has a softening effect.”
From the Letter of St. James mentioning several priests praying over the sick (“Let him call the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him”) proceeds the Carolingian (French and German) custom of many anointings from several priests — a testimony to “the depth of the Church’s solicitude for the sick.”
From the Rituale Romanum (1614) come the counsels that penance and Holy Communion also accompany the anointing and also the exhortation to the dying not to despair of God’s mercy: “Say also that he should not fear to die. . . . Neither should he fear death on account of his wife, his children, . . . nor for anything, but he should place all things under the ordinance of God.” Other rites include the reading of the seven penitential psalms, and the priest blessing all who have performed a corporal work of mercy by visiting the sick.
Just these few facts alone hint at the great thought, intricate art, and depth of spirituality that inform these rites of the ancient Church that make every detail significant.
The Mass, the heart of Christian faith, evokes the most contemplative thought, the most profound spirituality, and the highest art to do justice to this divine mystery. To capture “the cosmic dimensions” of the Mass, the sacrament incorporates in some of the various liturgical texts the dramatic moments in the life of Christ from the Incarnation to the Resurrection and Ascension — the Mass as a summary of salvation history.
In other texts, the Mass signifies an allegory of the cosmic battle between good and evil, Christ the King in bloody appearance leading the hosts of Heaven against the legions of Satan. The priest’s vestments correspond to the soldier’s armor. The prayers in medieval missals from England’s Sarum Rite conceive of the priest’s investiture as the use of many weapons for protection in spiritual warfare. The prayer that accompanies the amice placed over the head and shoulders signifies the protection of faith, the prayer that attends the alb seeks courage (“encompass me with the breastplate of fortitude”), the cincture arms the priest with “the custody of my mind.”
This military imagery continues in the Sarum Rite with the processional cross symbolizing a military standard or “a sign of the victory of Christ” that terrifies demons and recalls St. Paul’s teaching about glorying only in the cross of Christ. As the Mass begins with the Introit prayers, they signify the praise of the Chosen People, the praises of the patriarchs and prophets, and the Glory Be of the apostles. In the Confiteor the striking of the breast recalls the example of the publican who pleaded, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
In the Sarum Rite the Sign of Peace after the confession of sins represents, Monti explains, “an expression of peace and reconciliation brought by the confession and forgiveness of sins.”
The candles symbolize the Holy Spirit and the heavenly joy the Mass brings to the heart. The priest’s kiss of the altar, according to Pope Innocent III, testifies to the fact that “Christ joined Himself in marriage to the holy Church.”
In the incensing, the thurible corresponds to the heart of man, the fire which enkindles it, and the ardor of love and devotion with the smoke carrying man’s prayers to God. The crosswise motion of the censer lifts the prayers of the saints that flow from “The Passion of the Lord,” and the circular motions “symbolize the crown of glory” toward which the prayers of the saints lead man.

The Grandeur Of God

These glimpses into a few of the chapters provide an overview of the work as a whole. Each chapter lucidly and precisely explains how every action, prayer, symbol, and allusion teems with significance. The words and gestures that accompany these sacred rites have depths of meaning, layers of historical truth, and the riches of beautiful art that all combine to lift man’s heart, give God glory, and evoke a sense of wonder at the grandeur of God and the holiness of the Catholic Church.
It is a work that gives an even more authoritative understanding of Tradition — not just the repository of the past but the magnificence of the best, the perennial, and the eternal that God’s one true Church offers as light and beauty for nourishment of man’s mind, heart, and soul.
This is a work of scholarship that will pass the test of time and give glory to God and the Church He founded.

+    +    +

(Dr. Kalpakgian is a professor of humanities.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin

By Michael Terheyden 4/18/2014 Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) So when we look upon the crucified Christ today, let us take a long, hard look at the sin which resides in our heart and in our world. Let us then cast it aside and…Continue Reading

Roman Catholic bishops from England and Wales call for Church to allow priests to marry

JONATHAN BROWN  Thursday 17 April 2014 Roman Catholic bishops have called for the Church to take the historic step of allowing priests to be married amid growing signs of liberal reform under Pope Francis. The controversial issue is set to…Continue Reading

">Radical abortion bill dies in Colo. Senate after call to prayer, action

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 09:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Priest Creates Arabic App to Support Persecuted Christians

BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER April 16, 2014|11:13 pm A self-described Italian “technologic” priest has launched an Arab language version of his Catholic app that he hopes will support Christians in heavily persecuted Middle Eastern countries where printed breviaries are banned.…Continue Reading

Denver Archbishop Rallies Coloradans Against ‘Extreme’ Abortion Bill

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 12:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Denver on April 15 rallied opposition to a Colorado bill he says is “both extreme and dangerously ambiguous” in its ban on all abortion regulations and other…Continue Reading

CATHOLIC PARENTS BEG MASS. DCF TO LET THEIR HOSTAGE DAUGHTER CELEBRATE EASTER, FILE ‘HABEAS CORPUS’ MOTION

By: Raquel Okyay 4/16/2014 08:41 AM Parents of the ailing Connecticut teen held captive by Massachusetts authorities for more than a year are pleading with the bureaucrat captors to let them celebrate Holy Week and Easter with their daughter, whose health…Continue Reading

Common Core stirs controversy for Catholic schools

By Peter Doocy Published April 15, 2014 FoxNews.com Classrooms at some Catholic schools are undergoing a transformation, as decades-old traditions are being updated with Common Core state standards. Although the standards are not federally mandated for Catholic schools, dozens of dioceses…Continue Reading

Catholic League’s Donohue: Church’s Pedophilia Crisis Is Over

Monday, 14 Apr 2014 06:14 PM By Bill Hoffmann The Catholic Church has far less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors than other major institutions, says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil…Continue Reading

Catholic Malta Legalizes Same-sex Civil Unions

Staunchly Catholic Malta has legalized same-sex civil unions and has given gay couples the right to adopt children. The vote comes nearly three years after the Mediterranean island nation legalized divorce. The Maltese parliament legalized same-sex unions and gay adoption…Continue Reading

Remembering Terri Schiavo:

April 13, 2014 Remembering Terri Schiavo: Bobby Schindler comments on Pope Francis, Bishop Robert Lynch, and working on behalf of the severely disabled By Matt C. Abbott The following is an email interview I recently conducted with Bobby Schindler, brother of…Continue Reading

Parents Protest Speaker’s Talk On Morality At Another Catholic High School

For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive. Parents of students at the Prout School in Rhode Island have expressed…Continue Reading

‘Pay for it yourself’: Canadian Catholics fighting renewed push for single publicly funded school system

Sarah Boesveld | April 12, 2014 When Leonard Baak’s son hit kindergarten age, his local public school in Stittsville, Ont., was so full it couldn’t even add any portables. So all the other parents in his neighbourhood did the natural thing and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Pope Francis . . .

Easter ‘Urbi et Orbi’ Message of Pope Francis

pope272

Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter! The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay” (Mt 28:5-6). This is the culmination of the Gospel,…Continue Reading

Featured Today

Contraception: The Ultimate Judas Kiss

By REY FLORES “Every time a married couple engages in the act of coitus, that act signifies life. By the union of their flesh, they express without words not only their unity, but the sacrament of new life. But when they contracept with a contraceptive mentality, their motive is to use the act which expresses…Continue Reading

After Calls To Prayer, Action . . . Radical Abortion Bill Dies In Colorado Senate

By KEVIN JONES DENVER (CNA/EWTN News) — Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on Wednesday, April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state. “Lift up your hearts in gratitude to God,” said Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila in a post…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… Devotion To The Sacred Heart: How It Began

By DONAL FOLEY Part 1 This is the first article in a series of three concerned with the Sacred Heart Devotion. The origins of this devotion, which has proved so fruitful for the Church, go right back to Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. In chapter 19 of St. John’s Gospel, we read of what…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “NSSM-200: Blueprint For World Depopulation”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of National Security Study Memorandum 200 and a detailed report on the document, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +    +    + The National Security Council is the highest decision-making body in our…Continue Reading

Politically Correct Hypocrisy On Parade

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK I have met liberal Democrats who insist that the inclusion of liberal Democrats Alan Colmes and Bob Beckel on the Fox News Network cannot be taken as proof that the network is, as advertised, “fair and balanced.” They insist that Beckel and Colmes are chosen to make liberals look bad, as…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . Did Joseph Know Her As A Husband Knows His Wife?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 “And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” — Matt. 1:25. It seems pretty evident for those non-Catholic Christians who disagree with Luther and Zwingli on the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary would have…Continue Reading

Catechism Of the Catholic Church: Prologue

By Don Fier “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). This Scripture verse, the opening words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), succinctly and beautifully expresses its very purpose. The CCC’s first paragraph goes on to expand on…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I read every issue of The Wanderer, including the reports on the lives of the saints by Carole Breslin, which I find to be most interesting. Do you know if the Catholic heroes of which she writes are published in a book? If so, I would like to have two copies. — R.D., Pennsylvania. A. Carole Breslin’s biographical sketches…Continue Reading

Rich In Mercy

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Divine Mercy Sunday (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:42-47 1 Peter 3:1-9 John 20:19-31 In the second reading today St. Peter praises God who, in His mercy, has given us a new birth to a living hope from the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. God sent His only-begotten Son into the world as the expiation for…Continue Reading

Pope Benedict … On Wisdom

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s new catechetical series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, given during his weekly general audience on April 9. Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! We begin today a series of catecheses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know that the Holy Spirit constitutes the soul,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Adalbert

By CAROLE BRESLIN We will all die as a result of original sin — and we will be judged at the time of our death. There are two judgments that we will face after we end our existence on this earth. First, we will face the particular judgment at the time of our death, where we will then go to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bernadette Soubirous

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of mankind, God has chosen the lesser person to be His messenger, prophet, or king. He chose, Moses, the stutterer, to lead the Jewish people out of the slavery of the Egyptians. He chose Ruth, the pagan Moabite, to be an ancestor of Jesus. He chose King David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, to…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading