The exposition of that presupposition resulted in this unique book on the Theology of the Catholic Mass. The Divine Symphony presents a wonderful and seamless presentation of the liturgical continuity of the history, meaning, and mystery of the central and highest expression of worship and prayer in the Catholic Church.
For the past century and longer, nearly every book written by Catholics about the Catholic Mass has taken to the approach to explain the liturgy by dissecting it into separate parts and pieces. Contrary to this staunchly popular style of teaching, the Catholic Mass is not a disjointed litany of things laity says, things the Priest says, times they stand, times they kneel, things they do, and things they don’t do. Rather, in all of its liturgical expressions, from East to West, the Catholic Mass is a singular and Divinely inspired composition; a familial song of prayers and confessions. It truly is a Divine Symphony called the ‘Ite, Missa est.’
This is what makes David L. Gray’s work groundbreaking, in that finally there comes along a book that presents a harmonious symphony of the Catholic Mass.
Although Mr. Gray uses the Novus Ordo rite as the outline to narrate and guide the reader through the liturgical movements, he also draws into text much older Latin and Eastern rites, for the objectives of deeper study and explanation of the purpose, meaning, mystery, and orientation of the sacred liturgy. Such incorporation of so many various rites demonstrates, most beautifully, the universality and continuity of Christ Jesus’ memorial sacrifice.
A second unique feature of this work is Mr. Gray’s use of the classical symphony orchestra as a way to explain the structure and flow of the Catholic Mass. Even if the reader is not trained in the classical works, Gray gives them enough history and examples to give the reader a good reason to appreciate and understand their many similarities of form and purpose.
A third unique aspect of the book is that rather than attempt to explain the Mass through Scriptural proof-texts, the author has rightly moved to explain the Scriptures through the Mass. For, as the Scriptures tells the story of salvation history, it is the Mass, which brings the promise of the story to their fulfillment.
Through beautiful prose and a concrete presentation of the Divine Symphony’s history, meaning, mystery, and liturgical continuity, David L. Gray, in this exordium, gives reason to all to know, love and pray the Mass.
This well written and accessible a book is not only for Catholics, but for anyone who is looking to developing a deeper understanding and appreciation for what the Priests, Deacons, and the People are doing when they pray and confess the Ite, Missa Est.
To know the Mass is to love it and to love it is to pray it.