Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ in His Mysteries

In a personal correspondence, Zaccheus Press Editor John O'Leary says: "There are some who think this is Marmion's finest work, including Aidan Nichols (who wrote the Introduction), and Fr. Mark Tierney, the Vice-Postulator (Ret.) for Marmion's Cause for Canonization."

Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ in His Mysteries, translated by Alan Bancroft (Bethesda, MD: Zaccheus Press, 2008) is a sizable book of466 pages. It is not the first book of Marmion's published by Zaccheus Press. Christ, the Life of the Soul was published in December of 2005 (see our post on the book here). In December of the following year, Zaccheus Press published Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction by Blessed Columba Marmion (see our post on the book here).

According to Mr. O'Leary, in this book "Marmion is particularly concerned with leading the Catholic faithful toward a deeper understanding and appreciation of the liturgy -- in particular, the many special graces available, if we would but avail ourselves of them, during the course of the liturgical year." In fact, he points out, Marmion's passion for the subject is suggested in a letter he wrote in 1917:
"The good I have been enabled to do to souls -- men, women, children, rich and poor -- by revealing to them the treasures of spiritual life, of light and facility in their relations with God, which are contained in the Liturgy, show me how greatly important it is for every priest, vicar, curate, everyone, to work at making known this well-spring, so sure and so ecclesiastical, of the spiritual life.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel writes in the Foreword:
My advice to the members of this generation is to run to the library for Marmion before you succumb to malnutrition. Read Christ in His Mysteries as soon as possible and you will get some idea of what you have been missing and where to find it.
Again, Aidan Nichols, writing in the Introduction, says:
In Christ in His Mysteries, Marmion’s insight, as simple as it was brilliant, is that practicing Catholics will draw maximum profit from their meditation on the life of Christ if they contemplate its chief happenings through the lens provided by the Church’s liturgical year. In that year those happenings are celebrated in feasts and seasons. The Liturgy is the way the Church as Bride gazes lovingly — and therefore penetratingly — at her Bridegroom, laying out her understanding of His heart: His purposes, the grand design of the Father which He carried out for our sake... Readers of Christ in His Mysteries have opened to them the theological and spiritual treasures of Latin Catholicism at its best.
About the Author
Born in Ireland, Blessed Columba Marmion served for several years as a priest in Dublin before finding a vocation to the monastery. He eventually became the Abbot of Maredsous Abbey, Belgium. One of the foremost spiritual masters of the 20th century, his books were translated into eleven languages and sold some 1.5 million copies.

Firmly rooted in the Bible, the Liturgy, and the writings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church, Marmion explores every aspect of Catholic doctrine, with penetrating insight. His writings are marked both by the remarkable clarity of their exposition, and by their keen psychological insight and sensitivity.

But his greatest contribution to modern spirituality was to restore Jesus Christ to His rightful place at the center of the Christian life — Christ as “the life of the soul” of every Christian: through faith, through the sacraments, and through the liturgy of the Church. Historians note that only a handful of books were universally read by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: the Bible, the Catechism of Trent, the 1917 Code, and the writings of Columba Marmion. His doctrine is recognizable in several Vatican II documents.

Many of his admirers believe Marmion will one day not only be canonized, but also declared a Doctor of the Church.
[Hat tip to John O'Leary]


Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Bryan Dunne said...

Thank you for this reminder of Bl Columba and his interest in the Liturgy.

BTW I only learned today that Bl. Colomba's mother was in fact French.

According to the Papal Sermon on the occasion of his Beatification in September 2000 -

"He (sc Bl Columba) received his first "obedience" or mission when he was assigned to the small group of monks (Of Maredsous) sent to found the Abbey of Mont C├ęsar in Louvain. Although it distressed him, he gave his all to it for the sake of obedience. There he was entrusted with the task of Prior beside Abbot de Kerchove, and served as spiritual director and professor to all the young monks studying philosophy or theology in Louvain."

It was there at Mont Cesar that Lambert Beauduin met Bl Columba. Beauduin was influenced by his talks on the chapters of the Rule devoted to chant of the Divine Office. (see Dom Lambert Beauduin par Louis Bouyer Caterman 1964)

In caritate Xp.,