Just as after Descartes there no longer seemed to be any point in reading the likes of Plato or Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas, so too after Le Corbusier and Gropius, there no longer seemed to be any point in studying Vitruvius or Palladio or any of the work of the classical architects and designers. They were, quite literally, banned from the curriculum in favor of “starting from zero.”
Indeed, modernists would often deny that “functionalism” was part of a “style” at all. For them, “starting from zero” meant getting behind the “mask” of all styles and getting at the essence of what a building is, without any additions of style. This helps to explain the draconian minimalism of most modernist buildings: you strip away all the supposedly superfluous external additions, and what you are left with is just the essence of the building—without “style.” This also helps to explain why, although Fr. Reinhold denies repeatedly throughout his book that the Church should favor any one “style” over any other, he is more than willing to base his entire discussion on one of the central tenets of modernism.
The Gods Were Shaken: An Easter Reflection on Misheard Words
The Gospel reading for the Easter Vigil, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, describes the momentous event of Christ’s resurrection. We hear of the shaking of the earth, the angels of heaven, the fear of the guards set at His tomb, and His very likeness, truly God incarnate, striking terror in the hearts of the evil ones, and comfort to those who believe.
Last night, the deacon intoned the Gospel shakily, but perhaps providentially. He was supposed to have said the following:
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men. (Matthew 28:4)
But I heard this: “The gods were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.”
Now, I knew that he said guards, but what I had heard, I had heard. And this struck me. Mind you, I was just doing one of my many re-readings of Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, so it was probably because this work was so fresh in my head.
Throughout the work, Chesterton describes the drama of history as the drama of God, Divine Providence leaving its mark and shaping the very course of events. He mentions the dichotomies of the ancient world, that of the demons of the vaults of Carthage or the gods of the hearths of Rome, that of the intellectual philosophers and the popular priests. All have their clashes and their victories, but all bow down before the might of God, come incarnate as Jesus Christ.
Chesterton mentions this drama played out in Christmas first, as Christ comes to bring new life to the world, a world that had grown stale and stagnant as Rome had won her wars and history could progress no further. Philosophers had taken to sophistry instead of sophia, walking and talking in circles as they dictated the same dry phrases of a merely natural world. Nothing new was under the sun, to take a phrase from Ecclesiastes. The demons of Carthage, though, on that Christmas night sought to destroy the Son of God in one last gasp. They devoured the children of Judea, just as they had devoured the children of the Punics centuries earlier.
More importantly however, Chesterton describes the mysteries of Easter, of how the drama of human history, or rather, merely human history was finally played to its end. He writes in the chapter entitled “The Strangest Story in the World”:
It was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient eastern sepulture and guarded by the authority of the Caesars. […] The mythologies and the philosophies were buried there, the gods and the heroes and the sages. In the great Roman phrase, they had lived. But as they could only live, so they could only die; and they were dead.
The demons of Carthage had died. The gods of Rome and the old world were gone. In that moment of resurrection, all was changed. No longer could these gods of stone and wood, those whose power consisted only in chance or in the elements, no longer could they be worshiped, for now they knew they could not be true. Whether they were demons or spirits or mere memories, we cannot be sure. But we can be sure that they are not gods.
For on that Easter morning, the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who gave the Old Law to Moses and his people, the God of Israel who gave us the Prophets, showed forth His true glory and His divine purpose, coming forth with an earthquake and lightning, turning men to fear and awe, and giving men true hope and true joy. The old order was cast away. A new creation was revealed and the the Law was fulfilled. Man was saved and now he could truly live and have life in the fullest. The philosopher and the priest could now be one and the same. All the old gods and the old philosophies were gone and done away with, their mere selves merely memories, for the True God and the True Word had revealed Himself in glory.
"The gods were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men."
Happy Easter, everyone.
On the third day the friends of Christ coming at day-break to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised it was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.
Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum:
exsúltent divína mystéria:
et pro tanti Regis victória tuba ínsonet salutáris.
Gáudeat et tellus, tantis irradiáta fulgóribus:
et ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta,
tótius orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.
Lætétur et mater Ecclésia,
tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus:
et magnis populórum vócibus hæc aula resúltet.
[Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi,
ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem,
una mecum, quæso,
Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte.
Ut, qui me non meis méritis
intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre,
lúminis sui claritátem infúndens,
cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat.]
[V/ Dóminus vobíscum.
R/ Et cum spíritu tuo.]
V/ Sursum corda.
R/ Habémus ad Dóminum.
V/ Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
R/ Dignum et iustum est.
Vere dignum et iustum est,
invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem
Filiúmque eius unigénitum,
Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,
toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre.
Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit,
et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.
Hæc sunt enim festa paschália,
in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur,
cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur.
Hæc nox est,
in qua primum patres nostros, fílios Israel
edúctos de Ægypto,
Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti.
Hæc ígitur nox est,
quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.
Hæc nox est,
quæ hódie per univérsum mundum in Christo credéntes,
a vítiis sæculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos,
reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.
Hæc nox est,
in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,
Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.
Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit,
nisi rédimi profuísset.
O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio!
O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis:
ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti!
O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum,
quod Christi morte delétum est!
O felix culpa,
quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!
O vere beáta nox,
quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam,
in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit!
Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est:
Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur:
et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.
Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis fugat scélera, culpas lavat:
et reddit innocéntiam lapsis et mæstis lætítiam.
Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat et curvat impéria.
In huius ígitur noctis grátia, súscipe, sancte Pater,
laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum,
quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne solémni,
per ministrórum manus
de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia.
Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus,
quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit.
Qui, lícet sit divísus in partes,
mutuáti tamen lúminis detrimenta non novit.
Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,
quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis
apis mater edúxit.
O vere beáta nox,
in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!
Orámus ergo te, Dómine,
ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus,
ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam,
Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus,
supérnis lumináribus misceátur.
Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.
[Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.]
[V/ The Lord be with you.
R/ And with your spirit.]
V/ Lift up your hearts.
R/ We lift them up to the Lord.
V/ Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R/ It is right and just.
It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.
This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.
This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.
O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
What is the difference between Christ and Satan?
It is quite simple. Christ descended into hell; Satan fell into it. One of them wanted to go up and went down; the other wanted to go down and went up.
G.K. Chesterton in The Ball and the Cross
A Service ofgkchestertonquote)
Yes, Jesus died, he “descended” into the mysterious depths into which death leads. He entered into the ultimate solitude into which no one can accompany us, for “being dead” is above all loss of communication. It is isolation where love does not penetrate. In this sense Christ descended “into hell,” whose essence is precisely the loss of love, being cut of from God and man. But wherever he goes, “hell” ceases to be hell, because he himself is life and love, because he is the bridge which connects man and God and thereby also connects men among themselves. And thus the descent is at the same time also transformation. The final solitude no longer exists—except, at most, for the one who wants it, who rejects love form within and from its foundation, because he seeks only himself, wants to be from and for himself.
—Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, Meditations on Holy Week
Today there is a great silence on earth; great silence and solitude too; great silence because the king sleeps. The earth was afraid and was still because God in the flesh was asleep.
—Ancient homily for Holy Saturday
Image: Descent into Hell, Duccio
Q:Hey, Kyle, I've always known this day as Maundy Thursday. Is Holy Thursday more common among Catholics?
Depends on the Catholic.
Holy Thursday is the official designation in most Catholic liturgical materials translated to English, but Maundy Thursday is common among English Catholics and is the official designation in the Philippines.
In Latin though, the day is simply known as Dies Cenae Domini.
Altar of Repose at the Nuestra Señora de Guia Church, Ermita, Manila.
We visited seven churches around Manila on Maundy Thursday night for the traditional visita iglesia. This church, built on what was formerly one of the most glittering neighbourhoods of Manila, was erected in honour of an image of the Virgin found by the conquistadores being worshipped by the native Filipinos on top of a pandan bush. Many have theorized that the image of Our Lady could have come to Manila by way of Portuguese traders from Goa in the interim period between 1521 and 1565, making her older than the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.
Have a meaningful observance of Holy Thursday.