HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







Sacred Signs
by Romano Guardini

SPACE SANCTIFIED



OF natural space we commonly predicate three directions,--up,

down, and beside. They indicate that in space there ;s order, and

that it is not a chaos. They enable us to conduct a mode of life

and move about from place to place, erect buildings and live in

them.



In divine and supernatural space there is also this order of

direction. It is grounded in a mystery.



Churches are built along the east to west direction of the sun's

course. They face the east and the rising sun. The chord of the

sun's arc runs through them. They are built to receive his first

and his last rays. The sun of the supernatural world is Christ.

Consequently the course of the natural sun, his symbol, governs

all sacred architecture and determines all its forms and

arrangements. At every line and point eternal life is kept in

view.



At the reading of the Gospel the missal is moved over to the

left, that is, since the altar always faces east, it is moved

toward the north. As a matter of history the divine message

proceeded northward from the Mediterranean region, and the memory

of this fact is present. But the more profound symbolism is that

the south is the region of light, and signifies the divine

illumination, as the north signifies darkness and cold. The Word

of God, who is the Light of the World, rises out of the light and

shines upon the darkness and presses hard upon it in order to

make itself "comprehended."



East to west, south to north. The third direction is from above

down, from below up. When he is preparing the Holy Sacrifice, the

priest lifts up first the paten, then the chalice. God is above;

he is the All-Highest. "Out of the depths" the suppliant lifts up

hands and eyes toward the holy hills. The bishop, when he gives

his blessing, lowers his hand upon the head of the person

kneeling before him; the priest, when he consecrates, upon the

objects to be blessed. Creation is a downward act, blessing comes

down from above, from the Holy One on High. This third direction

of supernatural space is proper to the soul and to God. Desire,

prayer, sacrifice ascend upward from below; grace, the granting

of prayer, the sacraments, descend downward from above.



In accordance with these directions the worshipper faces the

rising sun, and turns his gaze upon Christ, whom it symbolizes.

The divine light streams westward into the believer's heart. West

to east is the soul's orientation; east to west the rise and

progress of God.



From the north the darkness looks toward the light of the divine

word; and from the fiery heart of the south the divine word

streams out upon the darkness in light and warmth.



From beneath upward, out of the depths toward the throne of God

on high, the soul sends up her yearnings, prayers and sacrifices;

and God's response in grace, blessing, sacrament, comes downward

from above.














Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com