The Priest at the Altar (Graf)
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"In a word, the service of God is meant to be beautiful, because a true instinct of man makes him realize, even when he is in a state of retrogression and barbarism, that all that is best and noblest must be made subservient to the worship of the Lord and Creator of all."
Dom Ernest Graf begins his work The Priest at the Altar with this declaration that beauty is the fundamental form of the Liturgy. The ensuing chapters vividly unfold how the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass displays the hermeneutic of beauty directed to worship of the Lord. Beginning with a brief overview on the nature of liturgy in general, Graf then presents a discourse on each individual element of the Mass -- from the Introibo to the Thanksgiving Prayers after Mass. His treatment includes not only the historical foundation of the liturgical practices, but also the spiritual significance of the Priest's actions. Though concise, Graf's writing elucidates both the logic of the Church's tradition and the rich signification of the Mass as sacrifice and sacrament.
While each priest, deacon, or altar server is sure to be enriched by Graf's reflections, The Priest at the Altar's layman reader will inevitably be led to a deeper appreciation of the Liturgy as well. His humility will be awakened by new reflections on the Confiteor; his joy at the Gloria will be stirred; and a new and profound devotion for the Eucharist will surely flood his heart when he recalls Graf's words on the Domine Non Sum Dignus. Newly typeset, this edition of The Priest at the Altar displays the profound beauty and intelligibility contained in the Latin Mass, carrying the wisdom of the ages into today's liturgies.
Page count: 260