Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Book: Zeal For Thy House

This new book is available now at CreateSpace (use code 4UUKR7CA for a 15% discount). 

It's also available on Amazon and Kindle. 

From the back cover:

In this book, Dr. Boyd hopes that those who experience pain and suffering at the Masses offered at their parishes will find some solace in knowing that they are not the only ones! It is helpful to recognize that we are not alone in the battle to have liturgies properly celebrated.  The pain and suffering is real, and it is justified by the fact that the Church has shown us clearly how the Mass – whether the old form or the new form – should be celebrated. We are not wrong or “divisive" if we voice objections and concern when the rubrics of the Mass are ignored or altered to suit the personality of the celebrant or, in some cases, the “liturgy committee”. Whether the abuses and missteps are intentional or made through ignorance, the pain and suffering of those who desire good liturgy is legitimate, and deserves to be heeded.

Dr. Boyd also wants to encourage those who suffer through Mass to cling to the hope that brighter liturgical days are ahead. To that end, included at the end of each section of the book are a few “Glimmers of Hope”. All is not lost! The gates of Hell will not prevail! Hope springs eternal!

From the “Epilogue”:

Hope Springs Eternal

I am not a Bible scholar by any means, but it seems to me that we may find a source of solace and hope in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, where the story is told of the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. In a sense, those who are struggling against “bad liturgy” and fighting to reinstate the extraordinary form of the Mass are attempting to rebuild the “temple” that is our Faith. The Eucharist is, after all, the source and summit of our faith (Lumen Gentium, 11), and when the celebration of Mass is deficient, it can only lead to a deficient faith. Many writers and speakers have noted the truth of this statement: the increase in abuses of the liturgy, especially in the Novus Ordo, certainly seems to correlate with a decline in the markers of a robust faith, such as vocations to the priesthood and religious life, attendance at Mass by the lay faithful, and fidelity to the teachings of the Church by bishops, priests, and laity.
In the book of Ezra, we see the beginning of the account of the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. The reigning non-Jewish monarch, King Cyrus, actually commanded it, and the Israelites began the work in good faith. Soon, however, naysayers undermined the project; first, they offered to join in and help, saying “for we seek your God just as you do” (Ezra 4:2). They were only seeking to undermine the project from within, though; and when the Israelites declined their help, the Samaritans then “set out to intimidate and dishearten the people of Judah so as to keep them from building. They also suborned counselors to work against them and thwart their plans” (Ezra 4:5). Finally, the enemies of the Jews succeeded in persuading a later king to put a halt to the rebuilding.

Years went by with no work being done, but it would seem that the Israelites did not give up hope; they finally began to build again when some bold Israelites listened to the words of their prophets. When questioned by the local authorities, they insisted on their right to rebuild, and noted that a previous king had given permission; after a review of the past documents, the reigning monarch allowed them to proceed. Then, in the book of Nehemiah, we are told of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Still the naysayers were fighting against the completion of the work; Nehemiah himself cries out, “Take note, O our God, how we were mocked! Turn back their derision on their own heads and let them be carried away to a land of captivity! Hide not their crime and let not their sin be blotted out in your sight, for they insulted the builders to their face!” (Nehemiah 3:36-37)

The opposition grew to the point of physical attacks on the workers, at which point Nehemiah tells us, “From that time on, however, only half my able men took a hand in the work, while the other half, armed with spears, bucklers, bows, and breastplates, stood guard behind the whole house of Judah as they rebuilt the wall” (Nehemiah 4:10). There were plots against Nehemiah’s life as well.

If you have been one of the faithful who is trying to “rebuild the temple” of our faith through  fidelity to the liturgical rubrics, I’m sure you see the similarities between your own battle and the battle fought by the Jews as they rebuilt the temple at Jerusalem! Not only are we rebuilding the temple, but we are rebuilding the wall – the wall that separates our faith from the secular influences that lead away from the truths of the Faith and down the slippery slope of moral relativism, which a number of popes have warned against. Indeed, the physical rebuilding of the temple was not the only “rebuilding” that took place. Chapter 8 of Nehemiah describes how Ezra was called upon by the people to “bring forth the book of the law of Moses which the Lord prescribed for Israel” (Nehemiah 8:1). And far from complaining about a long service, the people stood and listened as Ezra read “from daybreak till midday”!

The book of Ezra also recounts that the people had not been faithful to the laws of the faith: “…they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and thus they have desecrated the holy race with the peoples of the land. Furthermore, the leaders and rulers have taken a leading part in this apostasy!" (Ezra 9:2). I think we can see parallels here with our own culture – not necessarily with regard to the specific issue of Catholics marrying outside the Church, but with the “marriage” of our Faith to the errors of our secular society. Our Catholic Faith has been desecrated by this, and indeed, even some of our shepherds have taken a part in the watering down of Catholic precepts.

The battle for the rebuilding of Jerusalem was long and hard, and fraught with peril, but the people did not lose hope. Nor should we! The Israelites persevered in their mission and task, and so should we. It can be daunting to face the criticisms and sometimes even calumny of one’s fellow parishioners, but it is important that each one of us continue to respectfully request correction of liturgical abuse. We have documents to support our endeavor, just as the Jewish people had the document of a former monarch to justify their rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem – for instance, there is the instruction Redeptionis Sacramentum (On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist). And we must also insist on the proper implementation of the changes mandated by Vatican II – and point out the changes that have occurred that were not mandated and have perhaps been harmful to the Church.

It is true that we may not witness the changes we’d like to see in our own life times, but we should find hope in noting that progress is being made…or at least, not hindered. For instance, though many of the tradition-minded feared that Pope Francis would turn his back on the EF Mass, that fear seems unfounded at this point. In a recent report, the Holy Father declined to heed the advice of a group of bishops who wanted to squelch the traditional Latin Mass.

We have the favor of the Holy Father, and so must press on with the rebuilding. There is reason for hope!

[In the book, there is also the example of Archbishop Luigi Negri, who recently told the faithful at an EF Mass, “…[Y]ou must try to get as many people as possible to walk down this path of yours”; as well as Archbishop Alexander Sample, who, as the bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, who worked hard at improving the quality of liturgical music in his diocese via an article in the Diocesan newspaper and in a pastoral letter.]

No comments:

Post a Comment