New Books Just Arrived!-Continuing the Temple Theme
August 30, 2013 3 Comments
So as I probably mentioned, I love reading. When I’m not studying for school or work, I try to fit in reading in addition to being a “normal” 20-something. A couple of books just arrived from Amazon, and while I haven’t started reading them (time to enjoy the holiday weekend outside), I did read something interesting on the back of one of them that I thought I’d share, since it briefly mentions the temple theme that I brought up in the last post.
In addition to Angels of God-The Bible, The Church and the Heavenly Hosts by Mike Aquilina (can’t wait for Scott Hahn’s Angels and Saints: The Power and Glory of our Heavenly Hosts to come out next year), The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2 Chronicles by Scott Hahn, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship (which naturally complements Hahn’s Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God) by Edward Sri, I also purchased two companion books by Mike Aquilina and Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Archbishop of Washington DC): The Mass-The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition, and the book I’m specifically pointing out briefly in this post, The Church-Unlocking The Secrets To the Places Catholics Call Home.
“The Church” was published in March 2013, and I remember seeing it in Barnes and Noble around then, but still being actively Mormon, I ignored it. Now, as a reverted Catholic, I’m pretty excited to read it, since it talks about a concept that I love, as mentioned in my previous post: Catholic churches, cathedrals, and basilicas as continuing Biblical temple concepts and practices, and for the readers of this blog, a continuity that demonstrates their temple character is more prominent and clear than the LDS temples. When I was a Latter-day Saint, I attended the temple frequently. Before I was Endowed, I attended the temple with my ward congregation for baptisms for the dead every other month. After I was Endowed, I attended once a week, then once I was familiar with the Endowment ordinance, I attended at least once a month. When I traveled, I made a point to visit the temple in the area, not always for an Endowment session, but at least to go inside, since being in the presence of God on sacred ground is something that has always been of interest to me. I remember going to the Los Angeles Temple and just walking around with a friend, then watching the youth do proxy baptisms. I even wanted to be a temple ordinance worker! But there was always something…missing, especially when I read LDS apologetics on ancient temples. Many of the things that went on in the Biblical temple complex that they point out, such as singing psalms, Bread of the Presence, incense, candles, sacrificial
priesthood, etc don’t occur in LDS temples. But they do occur in Catholic and Orthodox churches, cathedrals, and basilicas (in the East, church buildings are specifically called temples as well). Concepts like washing, anointing, “initiation”, new names, sacred clothing, making covenants,
entering the presence of God, etc, while certainly present in the LDS temples in some fashion, are also present in Catholic churches as well, along with the other things mentioned that aren’t found in the LDS temples. So, when I reverted back to Catholicism, I was happy to know that the temple concept isn’t lost in traditional Christianity, and sacred space where God dwells is very much an important reality in the Catholic Church. As mentioned in my last post, Latter-day Saints curious about Catholicism can rest assured that the temple is still found in ancient Christianity, specifically Catholicism and Orthodoxy to this day.
For those interested in some of what goes on in LDS temples and what they look like inside (rememb
er, Mormons have meetinghouses, where they worship on Sundays, and temples, where special ordinances, including baptism for the dead, Endowment, and eternal marriage, are done), these two videos may be of interest. The first was just released by the LDS Church a two days ago:
Anyway, a longer post on LDS temples and my thoughts will be provided later on. I just want to point out a quote by Scott Hahn on the back cover of “The Church” that captures my viewpoint:
“”What the Temple was to the Israelites, our churches are for us Catholics. They are sanctuaries of God’s presence — the meeting place of heaven and earth. This is apparent, however, only to eyes of faith. This book trains our eyes to see the domes and spires, tabernacles and votive candles, pews and altars as they really are. As good guides, the authors take us beyond the visible to the invisible, beyond the material to the spiritual, beyond the human to the divine. Highly recommended.”
-Scott Hahn, author of The Lamb’s Supper and Signs of Life”
I’m pretty excited to read this book and learn more about the different appointments found in Catholic church buildings, and how they relate to the mysteries taught and experienced there. The authors discuss things like the shape of the church, the sanctuary, the altar, holy water fonts, candles, relics, the baptismal font, the tabernacle, and sacred images. Knowing more about the rich symbolism found in Catholic sacred buildings that point us to Heavenly realities certainly makes going to church and participating in the various devotions and liturgical rites that take place there a higher experience. Can’t wait to actually read this!