HEN I RECEIVED my copy of the St. Isaac Jogues Missal in the mail and opened it up, I couldn’t help but think about Eve’s encounter with that enticing fruit that was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. Unlike that ancient story, though, the fruit in my hands was not forbidden but simply forgotten.
Before me was a work that was pleasant simply to hold in my hands, but what I found inside was even more beautiful. For years there has been discussion about a reform of the reform of the Sacred Liturgy, but with the arrival of the Jogues Missal, I suggest that we can begin to make real strides for three reasons.
IRST, it is beautiful. We all know that first impressions matter, but publishers often fail to employ that wisdom in liturgical texts. Such is not the case here. The text size and font make it attractive and easy to read. The full-page artwork and smaller works sprinkled throughout catch the eye and edify the spirit. And the Order of the Mass explains in word and image the glory of the Holy Sacrifice. In short, the missal imitates well the Beauty that lies before us.
ECOND, it permits options. We’ve been optioned to death these last fifty years, but these options are welcome ones. A choice between the Gradual or Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation or Ancient Alleluia, as well as the inclusion of the Mass Propers and Sequences, make this missal usable at any parish, whether they are thinking about the reform for the first time or have been working at it for many years.
INALLY, it is a work of love. The DIY liturgies and disposable missalettes have seen the Sacred Liturgy and written Word abused and devalued, but the Jogues Missal seeks to honor them both. Designed to last for years, it calls to mind the enduring nature of the Sacred Liturgy and the attention to details speaks volumes of the publishers’ desire to glorify the Lord and help others encounter Him in Holy Mass.
Of the many gifts given to the Church by her members in recent years, this one is especially needed today. May we soon see it widely used, all for the greater glory of God!
St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us!
We hope you enjoyed this guest article by Fr. Brent Maher.