Friday, October 19, 2007
The Holy of Holies
"The profound connection between beauty and the liturgy should make us attentive to every work of art placed at the service of the celebration. Certainly an important element of sacred art is church architecture, which should highlight the unity of the furnishings of the sanctuary, such as the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the ambo and the celebrant's chair." Sacramentum Caritatis: 41.
"In the consecrated species He is there and remains there. When a man experiences this with every fiber of his heart and mind and senses, the consequence is inescapable: 'We must make a proper place for this Presence.' .......the tabernacle is the complete fulfilment of what the Ark of the Covenant represented. It is the place of the 'Holy of Holies.' It is the tent of God, his throne. Here he is among us." Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 'The Spirit of the Liturgy'
We now have, through the generosity of one family in this parish, a setting for the tabernacle which encompasses the "unity of the furnishings" called for by the Synod Fathers in the Apsotolic Exhortation, 'Sacramentum Caritatis.' It is also a work of beauty, using materials from the church which had, thankfully, been stored in the cellar. Designed by myself and our wonderful carpenter, Ed Hahr, the brother of one of our young priests, Ed truly offered his services as a labour of love, working incredibly hard to restore damaged wood, hand carve various pieces, stain and paint. As our Bishop, Salvatore Matano said to me , "who could object to the Lord being the center of His church?" As we know, there was never a word in the documents of the Second Vatican Council about the removal of the tabernacle. It really should not be a polemical issue - especially now that we have clear direction both from our Holy Father and many, many bishops throughout the world. I truly believe that, if I do nothing else in whatever time I spend in this parish, the restoration of the "Holy of Holies" will be the most spiritually significant contribution I could make.