Tag Archives: Altars

Burning the altar: dragons, lions, the Last One Standing after the battle

This is the old base of the old altar. Obviously it was one those tippy altars, almost tumbling over any number of times. It had to be done in. But I didn’t want to just use it for something else. What to do? That’s an easy question for me to answer, seeing what’s I have a backyard and matches. But the flames are rather… suggestive… Yikes!

Some might ask – and some have – going along with the looks of things for the sake of conversation: “But why would that happen like that?” … you know, ignoring how the box was made and the updrafts dependent on the logistics of the drafts and positioning of the wood, etc.

Here’s a thought: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is (1) the Last Supper united with (2) Jesus’ Passion and Death for our Redemption and Salvation on Calvary. Satan had already possessed Judas when the Last Supper took place on that Holy Thursday evening. Satan was present in Judas at the Last Supper. And, obviously, hell was entirely broken out on Calvary. When Satan thought he was being victorious over the God-Man Jesus, this is when the greatest glory of God’s love for us was being most manifest, glory upon glory. People think that Holy Mass is so holy that Satan couldn’t possibly be there. Instead, this is where he is, now trying to pervert the doctrine and morality of the priests, now trying to turn people away from Jesus.

The vast majority of Catholics no longer believe in our Eucharistic King, Jesus, who is, in fact, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. They are not doubting because of any scientific doubt. I’ve never once seen that. Instead, any doubt about our Eucharistic King stems from immoral lives and unconfessed sin. If the backsliders actually love Jesus they will keep His commandments. They will go to Confession. They will have the great joy of receiving Him in Holy Communion. And they will absolutely believe in the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. They will be humbly thankful.

Newly converted once again, they will be situationally aware as never before, knowing that Satan is prowling about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, but they will remain steadfast, fearless, with Jesus. The Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception is The Warrior with His mother over against Satan. Jesus is Himself the true Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Last One Standing, full of scars. Yes, He received those scars on Calvary, the Sacrifice of the Sacrifice of the Mass, but He has killed off the power of Satan, that fake-lion, and stands victorious.

  • I’m with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, not because I’m good, but because I’m forgiven. Jesus is good and kind.
  • I have no fear, not because I’m good, but because the One who is the Last One Standing wants me with Him. Jesus is good and kind.

The look on that Face is not threatening in the least. Rather, it’s a Face which says, “You see how I’ve loved you, fighting for you, unto death, and now I bring you to Life: Let’s go! And we are enthusiastic with His saying: “As the Master, so the Disciple.”

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Altar alterations: Cancel Gorilla Tape

We’ve been having knock down (literally) drag out (literally) sessions in the sanctuary of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC, discussing what can be done, how things can be done – so many measurements – the steps to take, what might happen with various exigencies…

Nathan the prophet seems to have visited a number of parishioners who note that the pews and windows and doors are all good, but what about the altar of the Lord, His sanctuary? They offered, of a sudden, independent of each other and all at once, some wherewithal and expertise, complementing what another way up in upstate New York has been providing for all along.

We chased off to a rock slab reseller and I immediately gravitated toward the piece above. If you’ve ever seen the slab upon which the burnt body of the great Saint Lawrence was laid after he was burned alive, well, this is a double of it. Very appropriate. Even more, this reminds me of the slab upon which our Lord Himself was laid inside the Holy Sepulcher itself, there in the Church of the Resurrection in the Old City of Jerusalem.

We’ll see if we can make the down payment before someone else snatches it up. It’s all moving rather quickly. We’ll be having to make some crosses as well as a Sepulcher for relics of the Saints. And then it will have to consecrated. This will take much preparations. For instance, there is a cloth which goes over the newly chrismated altar, a cloth subjected to appropriate methodologies to have it do its job correctly. Then there is another cloth and finally the changeable altar cloth on top. This will all be new to me.

  • “But Father George! Father George! You’re an elitist! You want nice things for Jesus, not for the poor! What kind of Missionary of Mercy are you anyway? Your (literally) Gorilla Taped altar right now is really cool. It’s speaks loudly of poverty!”

Well, not all Missionaries of Mercy are filthy liberals who hate respect for the Son of the Living God. Jesus defended the woman who poured that little bottle of ointment worth a year’s wages over Him for His burial seconds before Judas went off to betray Jesus, right? Jesus defended the integrity and honesty of Temple worship, right?

Many of the great cathedrals in these USA were built by the poorest of the poor during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Just saying. Would you begrudge Jesus’ little flock their generosity with the Lord Jesus.

Moreover, if anyone has an objection, I’ll ask this: “Do you eat off a Gorilla Taped board?” And if you did, you would be offended for our Lord, indignant for Him that His Last Supper for the Redemption of the World and the Salvation of the many might be located on Gorilla Tape. The rough cross was connected with this – My Body given for you in Sacrifice, My Blood poured out for you in Sacrifice – and they are together one event. But let the celebration of the Wedding Banquet be appropriate joyous. Those who complain about a well celebrated Liturgy are also those who dismiss the violence of the Crucifixion, who don’t offer Confessions, because, you know, there’s no such thing as sin and we don’t need a Savior anyway.

Here’s the deal: Jesus is Himself the Altar, the Priest, and the Lamb of Sacrifice. This is to honor Him. This is a virtue. It’s called Piety. It’s a virtue of Justice: giving due honor to whom due honor is due. Jesus deserves much more honor than we could even begin to give to Him. After all, He saves us! An appropriate altar honors His Sacrifice even as it speaks to us of our sin that would occasion such generosity on our behalf from the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Too much for some. They run away from such truths which should instead bring them great joy. Thus the bitterness.

Hah! There is NONE of that in this parish. Everyone wants to honor Jesus, and with great enthusiasm. When they hear that Jesus is going to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, they say: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

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Altering altars: towards an upgrade

Holy Redeemer church

Holy Redeemer, Andrews, NC

In this back region of the back ridges of very far Western North Carolina, in what I am guessing is the smallest Catholic population sized parish in North America, we have two church buildings, Holy Redeemer in Andrews and Prince of Peace in Robbinsville. Both have what I would call temporary altars, for neither are immovable and neither are crafted with anything that might be termed to be special in any way. However, one does have a granite rock design made from the leftover chimney rocks.

robbinsville church

Prince of Peace, Robbinsville, NC

Having said that, much work went into the altars to get them to be a decent size and keep them that way. Both are fairly tall and fairly expansive, a rarity in these days of chopping block altars that can even be symmetrically placed off kilter to match a lectern both in place and size. In the case of Robbinsville, the parishioners physically stopped a priest of the past from cutting the altar down to the size of a microwave. I love this parish. But some work does need to be done on the altars.

Holy Redeemer: This altar can be fairly tippy, like a teeter-totter if the whatchamacallits are placed below the lower thingamabob, with the top being made from an over-sized closet door guerrilla-taped to the top. There is no altar stone that I know about.

altar stone 1

Prince of Peace: While this altar isn’t so much tippy, having four legs instead of one as it does, I’m guessing that it’s not even made out of wood, but rather sawdust board with an oak veneer so common back in the day. The altar stone was desecrated, perhaps even before it was placed in the altar to begin with, and perhaps for good reason, that is, a transferal of the relics to a high altar whose relics were in the altar that had no separate altar stone as it was itself made out of stone. And then this altar stone was simply designated for this tiny mission station church regardless of the lack of relics. This was also very possible to some attitudes prevalent back in the day. The tape was long broken when I looked at it, with the slate cap-rock just laying there…

altar stone 2

What I’m thinking about is trying to replace the altars altogether with new bases for a couple of slabs of marble for the tops, hopefully with those donated by a marble company down in Georgia which owns a now defunct marble quarry in this parish (in the town of marble, named after this natural resource of ours). That weight, however, would cost us dearly as the floors in both churches would have to be reinforced. They buildings were not built for heavy altars.

Alternatively, and perhaps the better choice, would be to find appropriate altars in churches that are slated to be closed or have been closed but not yet destroyed. Unfortunately, these could not be massive high altars, as you can pretty much touch the ceilings of both churches by just lifting up your hand next to the altar. However, even a low-flying ad orientem altar with gradines and a tabernacle (not just a tabernacle “shelf”), but without a reredos would work well. We have very little room to work with. If you see something, say: “Andrews and Robbinsville”!

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