Who Can Bear the Thought of That Advent?

Detail of St. John the Baptist from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, Alsace, France.
Detail of St. John the Baptist from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, Alsace, France.

See where I am sending an angel of mine, to make the way ready for my coming! All at once the Lord will visit his temple; that Lord, so longed for, welcome herald of a divine covenant. Ay, says the Lord of hosts, he is coming; but who can bear the thought of that advent? Who will stand with head erect at his appearing? He will put men to a test fierce as the crucible, searching as the lye that fullers use. From his judgement-seat, he will refine that silver of his and cleanse it from dross; like silver or gold, the sons of Levi must be refined in the crucible, ere they can offer the Lord sacrifice duly performed. Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings of Juda and Jerusalem, as he did long since, in the forgotten years. Come I to hold assize, not slow to arraign the sorcerer, the adulterer, the forsworn, all of you that deny hired man his wages, widow and orphan redress, the alien his right, fearing no vengeance from the Lord of hosts. In me, the Eternal, there is no change, and you, sons of Jacob, are a people still.

Yours to keep the law ever in mind, statute and award I gave to assembled Israel through Moses, that was my servant. And before ever that day comes, great day and terrible, I will send Elias to be your prophet; he it is shall reconcile heart of father to son, heart of son to father; else the whole of earth should be forfeit to my vengeance.

Malachias iii. 1-6, iv. 4-6.

Lacrimæ Sancti Columbæ

My collection of Iona greenstone.
My collection of polished Iona greenstone. The smaller examples are known as St. Columba’s Tears.

A small geological outcrop at the south end of the isle of Iona is the source of a rare stone known since the time of St. Colum Cille and treasured for centuries. Iona greenstone (also called Iona marble, nephrite, jade, and a host of other more-or-less mineralogically correct names) may be found on the beach at Port a Churaich or St. Columba’s Bay. The green and white stone is reputed to be a charm against shipwreck, fire, and miscarriage, and local children collected and sold specimens to the tourists flocking to the island since the eighteenth century. Smaller, sea-polished pebbles have long been referred to as St. Columba’s Tears. During the Middle Ages, a large slab of the material was carved for an altar in Iona Abbey. Iona marble was also briefly quarried nearby by the failed Argyll Quarry Company in the nineteenth century. Iona greenstone was particularly prized for use in jewellery during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Temples of the Heretics

St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.
St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.

When we enter ornate and clean Basilicas, adorned with crosses, sacred images, altars and burning lamps, we most easily conceive devotion. But on the other hand, when we enter the temples of the heretics, where there is nothing except a chair for preaching and a table for making a meal, we feel ourselves to be entering a profane hall and not the House of God.

St. Robert Bellarmine.

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

I have often wondered how the Modernists, in the light of history, can defend their gutted liturgical rites as truly Catholic with a straight face.  When, in the XVI century, the handlers of Edward VI had the altars pulled down and replaced with Cranmer tables, toppled and smashed the images of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints, destroyed the rood screens and any sense of definition to the Sanctuary; when the Church of England eviscerated the Ordinal, commanded the use of the vernacular language in the Liturgy, invited communicants to enter the chancel and sit around the table for the Lord’s Supper, a eucharistic rite purged of all references to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; when they allowed communion under both species and reception of the Bread in the hand, and all but eliminated the Sacrament of Penance — all this was called heresy and schism.

But, when the Modernists foisted each of these innovations on the Catholic Church during and after the Second Vatican Council, it was termed aggiornamento!  This leads me to wonder: if the first Anglican Ordinal was so defective as to render Anglican Orders “absolutely null and utterly void,” how are we to be certain that the similar Ordinal of the New Rite truly makes priests?