The Music in Noise

Book Review: "The Lamb's Supper" by Scott Hahn - 2021-03-25

This is the first book review I'm doing, so don't expect very much, and it's on the book The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Dr. Scott Hahn, where Dr. Hahn explains how the Book of Revelations (a.k.a. the Book of the Apocalypse) can be interpreted as a description of the Divine Liturgy (i.e. the Holy Mass).

The Book of the Apocalypse has had many, many, many different interpretations over the centuries; perhaps the most common being either a futurist depiction of events to come in the End Days, or an extremely metaphorical description of the razing of Jerusalem. And Dr. Hahn does not discard that these may be accurate interpretations, for as we should all know, Sacred Scripture can be layered with meanings. He does, however, propose the interpretation that this Book is a description of the Divine Liturgy that we celebrate every time we go to Holy Mass.

As he himself points out, this is not a new idea that he came up with. In fact, it would seem to be an idea that has existed since the early Christians. This is why in traditional art for the Mass you can see so many references to the Book of Revelations. It's even alluded to in documents such as Sacrosanctum Concilium § 8 from the Second Vatican Council.

If one reads the Book of Revelations from this perspective, and pays close at the Mass (whether novus ordo or vetus ordo), one can see a striking resemblance between the two. I will post here a small table from the book showing the resemblance:

Sunday worship 1:10
A High Priest 1:13
An Altar 8:3-4; 11:1; 14:18
Priests (presbyteroi) 4:4; 11:15; 14:3; 19:4
Vestments 1:13; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9; 15:6; 19:13-14
Consecrated celibacy 14:4
Lamp stands, or Menorah 1:12; 2:5
Penitence Ch. 2 and 3
Incense 5:8; 8:3-5
The Book, or Scroll 5:1
The Eucharistic Host 2:17
Chalices 15:7; ch. 16; 21:9
The Sign of the Cross (the tau) 7:3; 14:1; 22:4
The Gloria 14:3-4
The Alleluia 19:1,3,4,6
Lift up your hearts 11:12
The "Holy, Holy, Holy" 4:8
The Amen 19:4; 22:21
The "Lamb of God" 5:6 and throughout
The prominence of the Virgin Mary 12:1-6; 13-17
Intercession of angels and saints 5:8; 6:9-10; 8:3-4
Devotion to St. Michael, archangel 12:7
Antiphonal chant 4:8-11; 5:9-14; 7:10-12; 18:1-8
Readings from Scripture Ch. 2-3; 5; 8:2-11
The priesthood of the faithful 1:6; 20:6
Catholicity, or universality 7:9
Silent contemplation 8:1
The marriage supper of the Lamb 19:9,17

The lesson that Dr. Hahn wishes for us to see in his book, and hence its title, is that when we go to Holy Mass on Sunday and precepts, we are not only in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, we are in Heaven. In the Holy Mass we are together with all the angels and the saints participating in a unified worship of the One True God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Mass isn't just a ritual of the Church for us to get to Heaven, it is Heaven. This is what Heaven will be, albeit in a less spacial/temporal manner.

From this, my recommendation is to read the Book of Revelations, from this perspective, and when you next attend Holy Mass, visualize what you've read as it happens before you in the Paschal Sacrifice. Despite how absolutely bland it may seem - I have this feeling with some novus ordo Masses - what is occurring before you is truly awesome.

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