|A Romanesque Gospel book|
Why are we content with plainness and mediocrity?
Why do we have no aspirations to do the greatest possible honor to our God, to His Word, to His Sacraments, to His house, and therefore to His people who will worship there?
Why do we produce so few masterpieces of fine art today?
Here are some absolutely stunning Epistolarium and Evangelarium covers from various periods, Romanesque, medieval, Baroque, and modern (19th century), that embody the Catholic spirit of proclaiming unmistakably the utter uniqueness of Sacred Scripture.
|A Gothic Gospel book|
The Word of God is given a rich casing of gold and semi-precious stones or glass to indicate the priceless treasure of wisdom contained within. It is decorated with figures of the saints, often stories from the life of Christ or the Virgin, to proclaim outwardly, even prior to the use of any words, the burden of its inner message of holiness. In the very excess of these book covers there is a potent symbol of the ineffable, of what cannot be depicted, that mysterium of which no human art can ever be worthy.
When we make something appreciably less magnificent than such works of art, and yet we might have done something better (in other words, we are not suffering for lack of money or workshops of skilled laborers), what then are we actually saying about the content of the book and our beliefs in regard to that content? About its superabundant excess of wisdom, its supreme worthiness of our affection and awe? About its value in our community and within our hierarchy of economics and politics?
|A Baroque Gospel book|
|This set of three books were produced at the end of the 19th century in France.|
The following contemporary Gospel books or lectionaries do NOT reflect such faith. They reflect a different theology, perhaps a different religion; they display a contempt of past forms, an arrogance that turns it back on artistic tradition, an utter incomprehension of principles of beauty, and a laughable unseriousness.