Cattle Drive, Fort Worth Stockyards, April 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Liturgical Books (Why I work on them)

This will probably surprise a lot of people, but there is a sense that I don't like spending so many hours typesetting and preparing liturgical books. I say this on the heels of having completed typesetting Bp. Basil's The Liturgikon for the Antiochian Archdiocese and having seen it through the printing. I have worked on other books for the Archdiocese as well.

I have also heard, through a friend who was present, that one of our bishops commented in front of a large group of my brother priests that I am not a good editor. I admit to it wholeheartedly (please forgive me your Grace). I've never claimed any expertise in that area and have always tried to find people who would proof and edit the work I've done (but unfortunately there have been very few who are willing to do this important task). I am a graphic designer. I work very hard to make liturgical books look beautiful and functional. This in itself is a worthy task.

But, as I began, I'd actually rather not have to do it. I'd rather simply focus on parish life. So why do I do it? Because it must be done. There are so many liturgical books that need to be prepared and published for parishes to be able to fully do their work and no one else seems to be stepping up to that task. The Archdiocese certainly has asked me to do that work. And I have done some other work voluntarily because of the great need.

I suppose the ultimate reason that I work so hard to produce beautiful liturgical books, is that I so deeply desire to go to the Altar of God and pray. I desire to have a book that is simple to use, so I don't have to concentrate on certain items, but be entirely free in prayer. Having said this, I am one who just before his ordination to the priesthood spent at least two hours a day for two weeks at my seminary's chapel working on my rubrics, so that I would have them down before my first liturgy. I did the same to learn the rubrics of the Western Rite as a priest--I knew them already for every other part from torchbearer to subdeacon. I'm not referring to being disciplined in ceremonial, but the freedom that comes when the rubrics are internalized and the liturgical books are designed in such a way that they don't create friction. This to me would be freedom to pray, to simply let go of everything and enter into the moment of the Sacrifice of the Altar. I also believe that this would be the greatest work that I could do for my parish--because I could then offer them in that Sacrifice like never before.

The beauty of the book is needful if only because everything associated with the worship of the beautiful God must somehow reflect something of his glory and beauty. As I typeset books, my heart tries to move to the Altar and do my work there. This is a spiritual work of love, mercy and sacrifice.

Would that I could work on other things. But there are so many books left to do before I can rest, before I can be truly free in love with Christ our Lord.

1 comment:

  1. God bless you, Father, thank you for all your hard work! You are beloved by all of us (known and unknown) for your tireless thirst to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the beauty of holiness. We thank God for the work of your hands. Many years, Father.