Tuesday, November 27, 2012

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down. Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. (St Luke, 21:5-11)

In place of Solomon's temple, Christ has built a temple of living stones, (1Pt 2;5) the communion of saints. At its center, he stands as the eternal high priest; on its altar he is himself the perpetual sacrifice. And, in turn, the whole of creation is drawn into the "liturgy": the fruits of the earth as the mysterious offerings, the flowers and the lighted candlesticks, the carpets and the curtain, the ordained priest, and the anointing and blessing of God's house. Not even the cherubim are missing. Fashioned by the hand of the artist, the visible forms stand watch beside the Holy of Holies. And, as living copies of them, the monks resembling angels surround the sacrificial altar and make sure that the praise of God does not cease, as in heaven so on earth... Their morning hymns of praise call all of creation together to unit once more in praising the Lord: mountains and hills, streams and rivers, seas and lands and all that inhabit them, clouds and winds, rain and snow, all peoples of the earth, every class and race of people, and finally also the inhabitants of heaven, the angels and the saints (cf. Dan 3,57-90)... We are to unite ourselves through our liturgy to the eternal praise of God. “We”, here, refers not just to the consecrated religious who are called to give solemn praise to God, but to all Christian people. (St Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, OCD) 

The picture represents interior of the Parish Church in Oberammegau, Bavaria. Oberammegau is the only place holding Papal license to stage the Christ Passion Play every ten years since 17th century. The Mass on the picture was celebrated by Scottish Cardinal, Keith O'Brien (May, 2010)