Cleansing Fire

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Like a Bride Adorned for Her Husband

May 30th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

This is a post originally published September 12, 2011. I am re-posting it after attending the rite for the ordination of deacon this past Saturday. I did a post yesterday that was critical of the lack of emphasis on the altar. From where I was sitting –on the right side of the nave about halfway down– I could not see the altar or more than the tops of the heads of the clergy at the altar. Not being able to see much of the liturgy I took to looking around and noticing, once again, some beautiful things, most noticeably the beautiful stained glass windows. They remind me of what I think is a very important concept a Catholic church building should convey.

The photos you see in this post are from the original post. The last one, especially, does not convey the full blue appearance of the windows as I saw them Saturday. The second to last window is a little truer to the effect I noticed.

Click on the Photos to see larger images.

Rev 21 [1] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [2] I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

 

Rev  21 [11] It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal.

 

Rev 21 [18] The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. [19] The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every precious stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,[20]the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. [21]The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass.

The church building in the Catholic tradition is more than just a gathering space for an assembly of people. It is a symbol of the New Temple –the people of God- and of the Heavenly Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven” dressed like a bride. The building should predispose us to experience the liturgy as timeless, incorporating in worship both all in heaven and all on earth. It is difficult to see how that experience can happen in a minimalist environment. I’m not going to say impossible, but, for most people, difficult.

Look around carefully and you can find in the Cathedral several suggestions of the heavenly Jerusalem in addition to the windows.

 

I can say something positive about our Cathedral even after the notorious renovation: the beautiful windows are still there. They form the equivalent of walls of jasper, gold, precious stones, pearls, sapphires and such, mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The bride –the Church—is adorned in beautiful garments as she goes to meet her Lord.

Take heart! Not all is lost.

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6 Responses to “Like a Bride Adorned for Her Husband”

  1. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Gazing at Sacred Heart’s windows is kind of like focusing on a brides beautiful hairdo and fine jewelry, pretending not to notice her dress is inexplicably torn and filthy and that her speech is vulgar. But you endeavor to be charitable and focus on what is good and beautiful…

    I try to do the same when I am at the Cathedral. And for me, too, its the windows and the ceiling at Sacred Heart that I look at in order to ignore the “Kreative” illicit additions to the Mass that you can always expect at a Sacred Heart Mass. I am also grateful there is a niche for Mary at the front, and that its not an abstract, or disguised to blend into the wall, or absent altogether like other of Clark DoR Wreckovations. But Sacred Hart’s modern, earthy rendition of Our Lady there doesn’t move my spirit.

    However, I find after Mass at Sacred Heart that the effort to ignore the wrong and the ugly leaves me feeling a bit weary.

    Now St. Michaels is a different story! In spite of Kreative Mass Additions and the DoR [rainbow?] coloring of the Mass — by this I mean, communion as a community “meal!”, the personality-first focus, and extended period of glad-handing at the Sign of Peace that persists even while the great Lamb of God prayer is sung – that kind of usual DoR thing.

    But we know the drill! This is a typical Sunday Mass at the DoR! One has to make a concerted effort to find the few DoR refuges of this.

    [Though, proof that the St. Michael’s parish leadership leans towards the In-Your-Face brand of Kreativity struck me when a young teen boy, clearly feeling altogether-welcome and comfortable doing so, prowled the center aisle at the Sign of Peace, enthusiastically extending his hand to parishioners, even while the great and sacred Agnus Dei prayer had already begun — donned in a T-shirt loudly emblazoned with propaganda for Gay Pride’s “Day of Silence”…].

    However, at the St. Nichael’s you get help ignoring the “Mass Khaos” – there is stunning sacred beauty not only on the ceiling, but everywhere you look! Its really astounding. Bernie, have you posted pictures here of St. Michaels?? So beautiful! And heavenly, beautiful music, too!

    Such sacred beauty makes the DoR Kreativity so much more palatable!

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    Some of those windows no longer let light shine through because of the massive gathering space constructed along the eastern side of the Cathedral.

  3. avatar Bernie says:

    Dr. K: Yes. And –I don’t know if it is just me– but the windows throughout are not immediately apparent to me when I first enter. I think it is because the colors of the windows seem to be predominately cool in hue; cool colors recede whereas warm colors advance are are more assertive to the eye.

  4. avatar Bernie says:

    Eliza10: regarding windows of St. Michael’s see this previous post http://cleansingfire.org/2011/06/salvation-history-in-stained-glass/

  5. avatar CPT Tom says:

    While the wreckovation of the Cathedral was awful from the liturgical/logistics perspective, it was a quality job for wrongness. The ceiling is beautiful, The windows retain their beauty, as done the stone. The materials used in the renovation were top-notch, and the infrastructure work that was done was first class. Hence the cost. That what gives me hope that in won’t cost too much to “turn back the clock” and return it to a more traditional layout.

    Short term if they changed the lighting to something less harsh I think that would also make it a more comfortable for people to be in. I find the lighting to be not conducive for prayer or quiet.

  6. avatar raymondfrice says:

    When I have been to St Michael’s for Mass, I have always been intrigued by how closely the kneeling king in a red cape in the nativity window looks like Bishop McQuaid.


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