THE LATEST BOOKS, by Fr. W. J. Randall
THE MASS THROUGH THE YEAR-Volume I: Advent to Palm Sunday, by Aemiliana Liihr, Nun of Herstdle, translated by I. T. Hale, foreword by Damasus Winzen, 0.S.B., introduction by Odo Casel, O.S.B. (Longmans, Green, London : The Newman Press, U.S.A., 30s,).
"grand circular tour " is a
familiar phrase among holi
day-makers-but you might not associate it with Our Divine Lord until you had read the late Dom Odo Casel's introduction to this full and deeply spiritual book.
"Circuit's meant a circle," he writes, " a circular course. This ever-recurring circular way is an image of the one exemplar, just as there is always but one Lord . . . This was a circular course of the highest kind. as the Lord himself said in John xvi, 28: ' I came out from the Father and entered the world; now f leave the world again, and go to the Father.' " "The sacred liturgy," adds Dom Casel. " is the mystical playing back of the cycle of Christ, and thereby itself a holy course, perfectly circular and complete. Its movement imitates the sacred action of Christ."
The mystic cycle
THIS book (originally the German
work Des Herrenjahr) goes through this mystic cycle, the liturgy of the Mass, for all Sundays of the year and many other days; e.g., the Vigil of Christmas, Christmas Day, the Circumcision, and the Epiphany; it covers the period from the First Sunday of Advent to Saturday in Passion Week inclusive.
An informative and erudite and deeply thoughtful meditation on each day is based on the Church's official words her liturgy as being the greatest words existing in order to enable us to understand and appreciate the basic, central, immortal and divine actthe Christian Sacrifice, the Mass.
We have yet a long way to goas every priest and teacher knows -beforewe get the majority of people even to begin to realise this tremendous truth. But the study of the present book-and the imparting of it to others-will go far towards accomplishing this great work; towards enabling people to realise the action character of the Mass, and their own share therein: in accordance with the celebrant's reminding words at the Orate fratres: "My sacrifice and yours."
Towards the enabling people to "assist" at Mass (the Church's own phrase in her Canon 1.aw); towards the realisation of the ineffable truth that we take part in "Calvary continued", nothing less.
THIS learned nun of the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Cross, at Herstelle, gives us much to ponder (see, for instance, her reflection on the Circumcision. pp. 70 seq.) She aims. she tells us. to describe the liturgy "as a supernaturally living thing", not to explain it in the sense of seeking the reason for the choice of the particular texts, but rather to show their unity as converging on the "sacramental mystery which they surround".
The translation is well done. The 16 pages of notes will appeal to students; there is a helpful glossary of 12 N.T. and patristic terms.
WHY I BECAME A MISSIONF.R, edited by Rev. George L. Kane (The Newman Press. Maryland, U.S.A.; Herder, London. S3.25: approx. 24s.).
BOOKS answering the question why someone became this or that are always popular. This collection of 19 brief but varied autobiographies contain much of interest in the world-wide story of Catholic missiology.
Seven missionary priests, eight sisters, two brothers, and two lay missionary give the account of their respective vocations to the missionary life; the contribution by Marlin H. Work, K.S.G., Commanding Officer of the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Services, is not a personal missionary account but a thoughtful comment.
Their missionary labours were variously in Honduras, Bolivia, Korea, Africa, China, Pakistan, the leprosariurn at Jamaica, the home missions of Indiana, in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, the Belgian Congo, Hong Kong, and Durban.
The religious rule
THE PRACTICE OF THE RULE, by Louis Colin, C.SS.R., translated from the French by David Heimann (The Mercier Press. Cork, 21s.).
THAT great department of the spiritual life (which is rally the supernatural life)-the religious rule-has been the subject of many books; but in this one Fr. Louis Colin (author of 11 previous works) claims to fill a gap in that department.
"The rule is the common interest of all religious," he writes in his foreword. But so far no book, at least no book with which we are familiar, has even given a complete and precise synthesis of the practice of the rule: its nature, its necessity. its development, its prerogatives. This is the synthesis we have attempted here."
To this end, and following traditional Catholic teaching, he considers " The Spirit and the Letter"; ("Faith," holiness and au thorit y); "Confidence" (assurance in observing, dangers of not observing); "Love" (of the Rule); "Regularity" (fine points of observance, and its "martyrdom"); "Enemies" (of the interior and exterior practice); "'Progress" (role of subjects and of authority): "Conclusion' (prerogatives).
IN his introduction (" The Spirit and the Letter") Fr. Colin insists on the vital necessity of interior observance through genuine faith and -love. "Exterior practice of the rule without interior prac rice is nothing but laxity and hypocrisy. Sometimes it is automation, but always it is barren ".
And in his conclusion: "The perfect practice of the rule . . . will be a weapon in the apostolate for the religious, a source of good order, peace. and fervour in the community, -and for the whole Order-a principle of lift and everlasting strength ".
Of its nature this book is primarily for Religiouspostulants, novices, and the fully professed; but it embodies much of interest and value to all superiors, preachers and spiritual directors; the opening chapter contains basic principles applicable to the spiritual life in general. There is plenty to learn, too, by way of quotationsfrom St. Benedict, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus, St. Vincent de Paul, and other masters of spiritual direction: e.g., Abbot Marmion and Pere, Joseph Tissot.
The references to spiritual writers run into some 500. There is a good general index; and the book is printed in the type called "Caledonia "-created in 1939 and claiming special readability.
HERE'S THE ANSWER
St. Peter rri Rome
COULD you show me where it is stated that St. Peter was ever in Rome ? I can find no reference in the Bible to St. Peter's journey there.
THE FACTS of St. Peter's pres ence, apostolic labours, and martyrdom in Rome are constant in Christian tradition, as voiced by the earliest Christian writers, the Fathers of the Church, These are as early as the first century, extending into the second and third.
Some of them were contemporaries of the Apostles: e.g. Clement I (the fourth occupant of the Roman See, writing in A.D. 97); Ignatius of Antioch (writing in 107); lrenaeus (a disciple of Polycarp, who was an immediate disciple of the Apostle John); Clement of Alexandria (writing in 190); and many others.
Weighty evidence Numerous non-Catholic and non-Christian scholars admit this, so weighty is the evidence. One (Whiston) said: " That St. Peter was at Rome is so clear in Christian antiquity that it is a shame for any Protestant to confess that any Protestant ever denied it."
It is important to note that the early schismatics of the East never attempted to deny St. Peter's Roman episcopate. They evidently knew that such an argument in favour of their schism would be futile.
Then there is the proof from the very practical science of archaeology-in the excavations and the ancient buildings of Rome. The eminent archaeologist Professor 1.anciani wrote in his "Pagan and Christian Rome": "For the archaeologist the presence and execution of St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome are facts established beyond the possibility of a doubt by purely monumental evidence."
The Gospels and the earlier portion of the Acts of the Apostles deal with a period earlier Peter's journey to Rome-the later portion of the Acts deals primarily with St. Paul; hence neither the Gospels nor the Acts mention Peter in Rome. There is, nevertheless, one important reference in the New Testament to St. Peter's presence in Rome; in his 1st Epistle he concludes with a salutation from the Church at " Babylon."
Now this cannot refer to the ancient city of Babylon-at that time devastated. But the early Christians were in the habit of referring to the pagan capital of Rome as " Babylon."
Crossword No. 544
Prizewinners: First prize, one guinea, Miss S. E. MeCrossan, London, S.W.2. Second prize, a book, Miss C. Melling, St. Annes on Sea, Lanes.