All Things Made New:
The Mysteries of the World in Christ
by Stratford Caldecott
This splendid work explores the Christian mysteries in the tradition of the Apostle John and Our Blessed Lady. As with some of his other works, the author does so following the mystagogic tradition.
The first six chapters are on the Book of Revelation. As the author demonstrates, this is not some peculiar work with little practical meaning for us. What we need to do is to approach it as was always intended by the Church.
Of especial value is the author's examination of Catholic devotions. As an example, let us look at the Rosary. The joyful mysteries prepare us to welcome Christ into our lives, For the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation, the author suggests we ask for the grace of humility. We may reflect on certain truths about Mary: "nothing in her resists the will of God." She was given the graces to freely choose to become the Mother of God. Mary's encounter with the Angel "may be taken to represent our own encounter with our angelic guardian." Each time we pray this mystery, we are trying, with the help of grace, to "pour ourselves into the mould of Mary."
For the second joyful mystery, the Visitation, we may ask for the grace to love others. In order to do so, we are called to "turn away from ourselves towards another's need."
The third mystery, the Nativity, calls us to be poor in spirit. The Nativity is "nothing less than a re-making of the world." This is because in the tiny Child Jesus, creation is being united with the divine life of the Most Holy Trinity.
Christianity is about all things being made new. Christ is not just one founder among many. He is an event of such magnitude that he transforms us. Indeed, he transforms the world. Nothing can be the same again after our encounter with Christ. And that is what the Book of Revelation is all about, Christ as the Lord of History.
I think what the author is doing in this work is to wake us out of our pleasant, Sunday Christianity. Christ has to reign supremely within us. And in society. Mystagogy is for life.