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Download The Mass of the Early Christians epub

by Mike Aquilina

Inthis remarkable bookauthor Mike Aquilina reveals the Church's most ancient Eucharistic beliefs and practices. Using the words of the early Christians themselves - from many documents and inscriptions - Aquilina traces the Mass's history from Jesus' lifetime through the fourth century. The Mass stood at the center of the Church's life, evident in the Scriptures as well as the earliest Christian sermons, letters, artwork, tombstones, and architecture. Even the pagans bore witness to the Mass in the records of their persecutions. In these legacies from the early Church, you'll hear and "taste and see" the same worship Catholics know today: the altar, the priests, the chalice of wine, the bread, the Sign of the Cross ... the "Lord, have mercy"... the "Holy, holy, holy"... and the Communion. You'll see vividly how Jesus followed through on his promise to be with us always, until the end
Download The Mass of the Early Christians epub
ISBN: 0879739428
ISBN13: 978-0879739423
Category: History
Subcategory: World
Author: Mike Aquilina
Language: English
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor; Second Edition edition (April 1, 2001)
Pages: 224 pages
ePUB size: 1385 kb
FB2 size: 1185 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 135
Other Formats: lrf azw mbr txt

A wonderful primer on what the early Church had to say about the Mass. It is beautiful to read words that mirror or at least echo what we still use to this day throughout the world at Mass from the mouths of those who lived within a generation or two of Jesus and the Apostles. Amazing to see the preservation of Tradition that the Church Jesus established has accomplished over two thousand years uncorrupted. Mike Aquilina spends most of the book giving a chapter to a different person who lived during the first 300 years or so after Jesus. A summary of the person and what it is we will read in the source material starts the chapter and then actual words written so long ago. Some are early liturgies, other are pagans declaiming what the Christians were up to, others heretics speaking to the practices of the true Church. Beautiful to see as a Catholic the continuity to the times of Jesus that Holy Mother Church has preserved. I imagine this would be quite instructive to any Protestants open to reading about the early Church and seeing them profess the same dogmas of transubstantiation and importance of the Eucharist that the Protestant Reformers dismissed as unChristian 1500 years after Jesus established such practices.
I picked up this book hoping to read about the development of early Christian worship and liturgy. That's what I assumed I'd get from a book about "The Mass of the Early Christians." Now there was some information about that, but the majority of the book is specifically about the Eucharist. After a short introduction the book mainly consists of extended excerpts from early Christian sources (scripture, Apostolic Fathers, etc) with some commentary. Aquilina ably demonstrates his thesis that the Eucharist developed similarly to the doctrine of the Trinity - the basic idea was there from the beginning, but subsequent generations were able to better articulate things as time went by.
Despite some of the other reviews here, I fail to see how this book would make anyone hold to the Roman Catholic position on the Eucharist. Surely the early church believed in some sort of real presence of Christ, but they stopped far short of the doctrine of transubstantiation. This book admits that it's not until the late fourth-century that St. Cyril became the first to articulate anything close to transubstantiation, and even then he was a lone voice amidst the rest of the church. Instead, this book presents a convincing case for anything except a memorialist view of the Eucharist.
If you are Catholic, you will love this book and it will make you love the Mass even more.
If you are an honest Protestant, especially an Evangelical always studying the Bible for the best faith you can have, read at your own risk of a joyous conversion to Catholicism!
As happy Protestant of over 50 years of steady deep Bible study and as at home in the pulpit, teaching podium, or pew, I read this book as part of quest to better understand the world of the earliest Christians: the Bible & Apostles to the time of Constantine in about 325 CE. I expected to fill in a lot of the gaps between my own faith, the tenants of what it means to worship Jesus, as well as the normal Protestant worship service common to all the Evangelicals and many other Protestant groups.
Instead, I found the typical Protestant worship service (every one I have attended) was an abridgement of the Catholic Mass, one that threw out all the good parts!! While I have believed the reformers tossed some of the good stuff out when they formed the Protestant world, I had never really faced they STARTED with the Catholic faith. They could be no closer to the first century church than the 16th century Catholic Church. Read that again. Protestantism started 16 centuries after the Bible from tenants of Catholicism. Either run scared and forget reading this, or prepare to meet your Savior in an encounter at every Mass that vastly exceeds every encounter of all Protestant services, including all the ones with exciting acts of the Holy Spirit (I always loved these). Honestly read with a heart open to the Holy Spirit, this book will either outright convert you to Catholicism or start you on the path to the nearest Catholic Parish, Priest, and Mass.
If you are in RCIA or otherwise wanting to explore the roots of Catholic Church Services, this book is the starting point of a deep understanding of the Mass.
Note: I am not saying Roman Catholicism is perfect or even the only way to salvation of your human soul. I have no hostility to my Evangelical and Protestant friends of all sorts, I love them, they still are my friends and family. But, if you REALLY want to attend a church service based upon the teachings of Jesus Himself, you must at least understand the gatherings of the early church, and how these are reflected in modern Catholicism. I leave the rest to the workings of the Holy Spirit! Amen, and Amen!
One of the most important books a Christian can read. I especially loved chapter 2, re-reading it multiple times. In order to be sure you grasp the full weight of this chapter, I suggest first reading a bit on the Jewish traditions surrounding the Passover. If you come away from this chapter not fully appreciating the importance of the Eucharist and how it ties all things together, from the creation to the Exodus to the atonement to unifying of the Christian community into the body of Christ, then you need to go back and read it again.

This is probably the most concise explanations of the mystagogy of the Eucharist, and will turn it from a ritual into a transforming experience.