A Book for Advent and for the Whole Liturgical Year
Advent is but a fortnight away. For many years I have had the practice of choosing an Advent book, to prepare myself for the Nativity of the Lord and for the entire liturgical cycle. This year, for those who would like to do the same, I can recommend nothing better than Blessed Abbot Columba Marmion’s classic Christ in Mysteries, recently published in a clear new English translation by Zacchaeus Press.
Christ in His Mysteries, first published in 1919, is part of three volume trilogy that, endorsed by the Popes and by the last century’s most eminent masters of the spiritual life, has lost nothing of its value and nothing of its appeal. The other two volumes in the trilogy are Christ, the Life of the Soul, first published in 1918 (also available from Zacchaeus Press), and Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, which appeared in 1922.
Blessed Columba Marmion’s trilogy, as well as the many other works collated from his correspondence and spiritual conferences (e.g. Union With God; Christ, the Ideal of the Priest; Sponsa Verbi, the Virgin Consecrated to Christ), are numbered among the classics of Catholic spirituality.
The Pure Doctrine of the Church
Pope Benedict XV kept the writings of Blessed Columba Marmion on his night table. In recommending them to the Servant of God Metropolitan Andrew Szepticky (1865-1944), the Pope said, “Read this: it is the pure doctrine of the Church.” Cardinal Mercier said: “Dom Columba makes one touch God.”
Blessed Marmion and Saint Paul
This new edition of Christ in His Mysteries is especially relevant to the Year of Saint Paul. No one did as much to mine the riches of Saint Paul’s writings for the benefit of the God-seeking faithful as did Abbot Marmion. The Irish Benedictine was steeped in the Christology and mysticism of the Apostle to the Nations. It is this constant, living reference to Sacred Scripture that gives his writings their distinctive “unction.”
A Mystagogical Guide Through the Liturgical Year
I was introduced to Christ in His Mysteries over forty years ago and have returned to it time and time again, often using it as a “mystagogical guide” through the liturgical year. The volume is divided into four sections. In the first, Preliminary Talks, Blessed Marmion introduces his reader to the Mysteries of Christ and to our assimilation of the particular graces that ever flow from them. In the second, he invites his reader to contemplate Christ: the Eternal Word, the Incarnate Son, the Saviour and High Priest. The third section, following the liturgical year, enables the reader to “pray his way” through the mysteries of Advent, Christmastide and Epiphanytide The fourth section pursues the course of the liturgical year, treating of Our Lord’s Baptism and public life, of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and of the feasts of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, and All Saints.
Blessed Marmion’s Way of the Cross
Do I have my favourite pages in Christ in His Mysteries? I do. Blessed Abbot Columba’s Way of the Cross (pp. 312-327) is extraordinary. His meditations are full of compunction and, at the end of each “station” he offers a prayer that sums up and asks for the grace proper to the corresponding moment in Our Lord’s Passion. Blessed Abbot Marmion made the Way of the Cross every day of his life with the exception of Easter Sunday. In Christ in His Mysteres he shares with us the fruit of his own daily contemplation.
Go to Zacchaeus Press
When you purchase your copy of this splendid new edition of Christ in Mysteries from Zacchaeus Press, be sure to let our friends there know that you read about it on Vultus Christi.