Mrs Adfero writesfor Rorate Caeli — If there was ever a book for our times, it is Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great by The Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP. (Amazon £29.84)
We have found ourselves in a pivotal moment in history as we watch the COVID-19 pandemic unfold. We are deprived of assisting at the Mass in a Church. We are isolated from one another. We find ourselves depending upon the fickle internet on our technological devices to connect with one another and to help us fulfill the Sunday obligation we hold so dear.
With so much anxiety, uncertainty, and an onslaught of information regarding the coronavirus crisis, Nothing Superfluous will bring you calm and a deeper, richer appreciation for the Mass, “A Pearl of Great Price.” Written plainly and clearly, as for an adult education class, it does not intimidate with lofty academic language, making the information in this book accessible for all.
The symbolism in this book of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great is stunning. Fr. Jackson does not leave anything out – from the reason we use the Latin language in the Mass, which many may know, to the symbolism of the cavity of the bell, which many may not know.
This book will renew in your hearts and minds and deepen your appreciation for the Mass. The Mass of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great is a Mass that was organically composed over time in complete harmony with the Church traditions that had come before. The liturgy, from the words and gestures, to the Church buildings, art and architecture, were rich with the magnificent history, traditions, and symbolism that sought to unite souls to Christ. Fr. Jackson shows us how every element of the liturgy is steeped with fascinating symbolism from thousands of years of Catholic history whose organic composition was guided by the Holy Ghost using human ingenuity. Nothing is superfluous, everything is essential, to our worship of God.
Worshiping God is our primary duty. I encourage you to use this time of deprivation from the Mass and Sacraments to fortify your understanding and appreciation for the Mass of all time.
Personally, our homeschooling family plans to read this book aloud together during this time. Our hope is that once we are able to assist at Mass in person again, our family will recognize and understand the elements of the Mass that we learned about in this book, and it will deepen our worship at Mass.