Friday 27 July 2018

Saints of the Roman Canon - Julien Chilcott-Monk - CTS Living the Liturgy Series

Saints of the Roman Canon 
CTS Living the Liturgy Series
Julien Chilcott-Monk
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781860828621
eISBN 9781784693909

This book was not exactly what I was expecting. But it was an excellent read. It is a collection of brief biographies and histories on all of the Saints that are part of the first Eucharistic prayer. 

The description of this book is:

"The lives of the saints mentioned in the first Eucharistic Prayer in the Roman Missal. The Roman Canon, or First Eucharistic Prayer, recalls many saints from the history of the early Church, and their names have become familiar with Mass-goers everywhere. It mentions Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Linus, Cletus and many others - but who were these saints and why of all the saints are they remembered so regularly? This eBook gives a short and enlightening biography of each and why we should get to know the lives behind the names. Learn about some of the most important saints and martyrs in the Catholic Church's history. An important new Mass participation aid to understanding the first Eucharistic prayer. Suitable for priests as an aid for catechises on the saints."

In the introduction Julien states:

"On hearing the names of particular saints in the Roman Canon we celebrate what we know of them - their characters, their characteristics, and circumstances of their martyrdom. Those, and there are some, whose lives and passions have now largely been forgotten, are celebrated because their contemporaries - fellow Christians and, sometimes, even pagan enemies - acclaimed their sacrifice and resolution in the face of torture and death, and we can thus hold in our minds, along with the better-known saints, all those whose examples and sacrifices are now little known or forgotten. In some cases, where there are doubts as to the identity of a particular saint, the possibilities are considered carefully.

In praying the saints of the Roman Canon, we can use in our contemplation whatever knowledge we have of them - their strengths, weaknesses, circumstances of their martyrdom, their names, their ages and positions in life. In knowing something of them and holding these themes in our minds, we are much better equipped to pray the Canon."

The chapters in this book and specific saints examined are:

The Virgin Mary
St Joseph
St Peter
St Paul
St Andrew
St James (the Great)
St John
St Thomas
St James (the Less)
St Philip
St Bartholomew
St Matthew
St Simon
St Thaddeus [Jude]
St Linus
St Cletus
St Clement
St Sixtus
St Cornelius
St Cyprian
St Lawrence
St Chrysogonus
St John & St Paul
St Cosmas & St Damian
St John the Baptist
St Stephen
St Matthias
St Barnabas
St Ignatius
St Alexander
St Marcellinus & St Peter
St Felicity & St Perpetua
St Agatha
St Lucy
St Agnes
St Cecilia
St Anastasia
Further Reading

After each biography there are tools to help in contemplation and prayer. Some ore poems, some hymns, and guides for contemplation. A sample chapter Saint Stephen is:

"26 December

Luke paints a colourful and three-dimensional picture of this man, the proto-martyr, in the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen was the first of seven deacons ordained by the apostles to assist them by caring for the less fortunate among both Hebrew and Greek Jews, of whom Stephen was one. He assisted also with preaching and teaching and soon gained a reputation as a marvellous orator and worker of miracles.

Stephen spoke with vigour and authority, so much so that the authorities conspired to have witnesses declare "We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God" (Ac 6:11). He was arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin. Perjurers made the case against him. In response to the allegations, Stephen launched into the most eloquent and beautifully crafted history of Israel and her relationship with God. He showed how, at every turn, Israel had consistently disobeyed and rejected God's commands and love. Stephen skilfully reaches the conclusion of his summary: "You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past, they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers." Afterwards, the council "rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him" (Ac 7:51-58). Stephen's clothes (his mantle, perhaps?) were laid at the feet of one Saul, a young man and persecutor of the Church. No one then knew that Saul would wear that mantle with pride.

We might dwell upon Stephen's fearlessness and confidence in the Lord.

Saint of God, elect and precious,
Protomartyr, Stephen bright
With thy love of amplest measure,
Shining round thee like a light;
Who to God commendedst, dying,
Them that did thee all despite.
Glitters now the crown above thee,
Figured in thy sacred name:
O that we, who truly love thee,
May have portion in the same;
In the dreaded day of judgement
Fearing neither sin nor shame.
(Sancte Dei pretiose, 1st millennium, tr. J M Neale)
Pray for all missionaries and missionary organisations.
St Stephen, pray for us."

This book was a wonderful little read. It is another excellent resource from the Catholic truth Society. And I look forward to checking out other books in the Living the Liturgy series and other books by Julien Chilcott-Monk.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Julien Chilcott-Monk:
The Way of the Passion
Come, Lord Jesus!
In the Name of the Father
Praying the Crucifix - Reflections on the Cross
Saints of the Roman Canon
A Calendar of Catholic Devotion
Walking the Way of the Cross: Liturgies and Meditations on the Stations of the Cross for Personal and Corporate Devotion
A Basic Dictionary of Bible People
John Henry Newman and the Path to Sainthood
Flesh, Bone, Wood: Entering Into the Mysteries of the Cross
Advent Joy. Journeying Towards the Nativity

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