« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE SYMBOLISM OF RITUAL.
VERY few, comparatively, are sufficiently instructed in the significance of Catholic worship thoroughly to appreciate and enjoy it. If the Ceremonial of the Church be generally considered beautiful and imposing, even by those who understand but the material part, what effect ought it not to produce on such as really understand its spirit? “ If, instead of condemning from the elevation of their ignorance,” says the Abbé Martinet,“ the numerous ceremonies of the Catholic worship, the objectors would take the pains to penetrate the deep significance of them, and study their vast and beautiful symbolism, they would see that everything is perfectly connected in this beautiful system, that every part has its reason, and also its effect, and that the skill with which the Church has introduced so great a variety into the very limited plan of its Liturgy can not be sufficiently admired. What do we find in this series of mysterious pictures which it presents to our eye in the course of a year? Nothing less than the history of the world, from the Word which created Heaven and earth, to the Word which is to produce a new Heaven and a new earth; the history of the Redeemer, from the
1 day He was promised to guilty man, to the day when He will receive into His glory, the last in time, of the elect; the history of the Christian Church, from the period when it was sighing in the Catacombs, to the final period, when, pursued into the depths of the deserts by triumphant impiety, it will see the banner of the spouse unfurled in heaven, and will entone an eternal Hosannah."
The order and arrangement of the whole external system of the Church is so contrived as plainly to symbolize her office toward her people, and to exhibit her life and energies side by side with the energies and life of the world, sanctifying and exalting, by the power of the hidden life with God, the entire circle of our daily life in communion with our fellow-men. The whole year is, as it were, thus taken up, and sanctified by Religion; and we see that, during its course, there is not a truth which the Church does not preach, not a virtue or grace which she does not put forth for
imitation, not a chord of the human heart which she does not strive to touch, so that “one is led,” says the Abbé Gaume, "to feel of each several solemnity that which one is forced to say of every Christian verity, ‘Si elle n'existit pas, il faudrait l'inventer."
Rev. CHARLES JAMES LE GEYT, The Church and the World: Essays on Ques
tions of the Day. By Various Writers.
TAE rosary, which you see suspended around my neck, is a memorial of sympathy and respect for an illustrious man. I was passing through France, in the reign of Napoleon, by the peculiar privilege granted to a savant, on my road to Italy. I had just returned from the Holy Land and had in my possession two or three of the rosaries which are sold to pilgrims at Jerusalem, as having been suspended in the Holy Sepulchre. Pius VII. was then in imprisonment at Fontainebleau. By a special favor, on thė plea of my return from the Holy Land, I obtained permission to see this venerable and illustrious pontiff. I carried with me one of my rosaries.
He received me with great kindness. I tendered my services to execute any commissions, not political ones, he might think fit to intrust me with, in Italy, informing him that I was an Englishman ; he expressed his thanks, but declined troubling
I told him that I was just returned from the Holy Land; and, bowing with great humility, offered him my rosary from the Holy Sepulchre.
He received it with a smile, touched it with his lips, gave his benediction over it, and returned it into my hands, supposing, of course, that I was a Roman Catholic. I had meant to present it to his Holiness; but the blessing he had bestowed upon it, and the touch of his lips, made it a precious relic to me; and I restored it to my neck, round which it has ever since been suspended. “We shall meet again; adieu": and he gave me his paternal blessing.
It was eighteen months after this interview, that I went out, with almost the whole population of Rome, to witness and welcome the triumphal entry of this illustrious father of the Church into his capital. He was borne on the shoulders of the most distinguished artists, headed by Canova; and never shall I forget the enthusiasm with which he was received; it is impossible to describe the shouts of triumph and of rapture sent up to heaven by every voice. And when he gave his benediction to the people, there was a universal prostration, a sobbing, and marks of emotion and joy, almost like the bursting of the heart. I heard everywhere around me cries of “The holy father! the most holy father! His restoration is the work of God!"
I saw tears streaming from the eyes of almost