The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385496599
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1999
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 53,652
Product dimensions: 5.75(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

SCOTT HAHN holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and he is the founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. In 2005, he was appointed as the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books, including Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (coauthored with his wife, Kimberly), and is editor of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology. Some of his most recent books are Many Are Called, Consuming the Word, The Catholic Bible Dictionary, and Signs of Life. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.

Read an Excerpt

In Heaven Right Now

WHAT I FOUND AT MY FIRST MASS

THERE I STOOD, a man incognito, a Protestant minister in plainclothes, slipping into the back of a Catholic chapel in Milwaukee to witness my first Mass. Curiosity had driven me there, and I still didn't feel sure that it was healthy curiosity. Studying the writings of the earliest Christians, I'd found countless references to "the liturgy," "the Eucharist," "the sacrifice." For those first Christians, the Bible--the book I loved above all--was incomprehensible apart from the event that today's Catholics called "the Mass."

I wanted to understand the early Christians; yet I'd had no experience of liturgy. So I persuaded myself to go and see, as a sort of academic exercise, but vowing all along that I would neither kneel nor take part in idolatry.

I took my seat in the shadows, in a pew at the very back of that basement chapel. Before me were a goodly number of worshipers, men and women of all ages. Their genuflections impressed me, as did their apparent concentration in prayer. Then a bell rang, and they all stood as the priest emerged from a door beside the altar.

Unsure of myself, I remained seated. For years, as an evangelical Calvinist, I'd been trained to believe that the Mass was the ultimate sacrilege a human could commit. The Mass, I had been taught, was a ritual that purported to "resacrifice Jesus Christ." So I would remain an observer. I would stay seated, with my Bible open beside me.

SOAKED IN SCRIPTURE

As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn't just beside me. It was before me--in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, "Hey, can I explain what's happening from Scripture? This is great!" Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: "This is My body . . . This is the cup of My blood."

Then I felt all my doubt drain away. As I saw the priest raise that white host, I felt a prayer surge from my heart in a whisper: "My Lord and my God. That's really you!"

I was what you might call a basket case from that point. I couldn't imagine a greater excitement than what those words had worked upon me. Yet the experience was intensified just a moment later, when I heard the congregation recite: "Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God," and the priest respond, "This is the Lamb of God . . ." as he raised the host.

In less than a minute, the phrase "Lamb of God" had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times in twenty-two chapters. I was at the marriage feast that John describes at the end of that very last book of the Bible. I was before the throne of heaven, where Jesus is hailed forever as the Lamb. I wasn't ready for this, though--I was at Mass!

HOLY SMOKE!

I would return to Mass the next day, and the next day, and the next. Each time I went back, I would "discover" more of the Scriptures fulfilled before my eyes. Yet no book was as visible to me, in that dark chapel, as the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, which describes the worship of the angels and saints in heaven. As in that book, so in that chapel, I saw robed priests, an altar, a congregation chanting "holy, holy, holy." I saw the smoke of incense; I heard the invocation of angels and saints; I myself sang the alleluias, for I was drawn ever more into this worship. I continued to sit in the back pew with my Bible, and I hardly knew which way to turn--toward the action in the Apocalypse or the action at the altar. More and more, they seemed to be the very same action.

I plunged with renewed vigor into my study of ancient Christianity and found that the earliest bishops, the Fathers of the Church, had made the same "discovery" I was making every morning. They considered the Book of Revelation the key to the liturgy, and the liturgy the key to the Book of Revelation. Something powerful was happening to me as a scholar and a believer. The book of the Bible that I had found most perplexing--the Book of Revelation--was now illuminating the ideas that were most foundational to my faith: the idea of the covenant as the sacred bond of the family of God. Moreover, the action that I had considered the supreme blasphemy--the Mass--now turned out to be the event that sealed God's covenant. "This is the cup of My blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant."

I was giddy with the newness of it all. For years I had been trying to make sense of the Book of Revelation as some kind of encoded message about the end of the world, about worship in faraway heaven, about something most Christians couldn't experience while still on earth. Now, after two weeks of daily Mass attendance, I found myself wanting to stand up during the liturgy and say, "Hey, everybody. Let me show you where you are in the Apocalypse! Turn to chapter four, verse eight. You're in heaven right now."

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Lamb's Supper 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
ArthurND More than 1 year ago
This book was both enlightening and educational. Scott Hahn has a way of reaching you and opening up scripture for everyone to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've gone to Mass since I was a baby but in 22 years I never truely knew what I had! Dr. Hahn has helped this devote Catholic open his eyes. I knew that the Mass was a gift and truely special but not in the way that I know now. Also how the Lord's Prayer and Revelation and the Mass are one in the same. I prayed the Our Father all my life and it never crossed my mind that in that prayer I was describing the Mass. Everyone needs to read this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
IF your caught up in the freenzy of the 'Left Behind' series of books I encourage you to read this very different and most wonderful interpertation of the book of Revelations!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Hahn's references to Revelation was heavy reading at times. I wouldn't recommend this to a new convert. It was however very informative for people who are exploring their faith. His awe for the Mass is admirable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written by Scott Hahn, it is an awesome perspective and education on religious practice, for both Catholics and others as well. I would also recommend taking a look at the author's (Scott Hahn) bio. Very well written book by this contemporary theologian.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book touched me, and caught me into the loving faith of Catholicism. Scott Hahn really explains everything plain out terms with a very vital back round. He Breaks down every part of the mass into theology that even a thirteen year old could understand. This is the best book to start off of if you wanna read about the faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, you'll be sure to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the Catholic Mass. Give copies to your friends and priest! We ALL need to read the 'Lamb's Supper'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scott Hahn's impeccable explanation of the Catholic Mass is a must read for every Catholic, and especially for every Christian. By combining his personal experience with both biblical and extra biblical proofs, Dr. Hahn has made the explanation of the Catholic understanding of the Mass both educational and enjoyable. This book should not offend non-Catholic Christians as it provides real insights into the Catholic faith in a very non-confrontational way. I know that everyone who reads the bible and this book will come away with a profound "Revelation."
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Scott Hahn offers a refreshing view of Revelation that is consistant with Scripture, Catholic Tradition, and the early beliefs of the Church. If -like me- you're sick of all this end-times frenzy, this book is a breath of fresh air. Like all of Mr. Hahn's books, none of his material is original, but it is presented in a way that is understandable to a modern reader. The early Church believed that Revelation was not so much a prophacy of the end of the world, but a model for the Mass. Hahn, however, does not discredit other interpretations of Revelation, but asserts that the primary focus of the book is on the heavenly liturgy of the Mass. The only problem I have with Hahn is that -even though he converted to Catholicism- he still writes like a Protestant minister. By that I mean his books mainly consist of personal anecdotes, numerous pop-culture allusions and analogies, a super abundence of quotes (secular and religious)and scripture citations, a tendency to gloss over or oversimplify an issue and to embelish romanticize his own view. His books are written for the masses and not for the serious conisseur of theology. He also recycles a lot of material from his other books. His section on Mary is almost verbatim from 'Hail, Holy Queen' and the chapter 'Parish the Thought' is the Reader's Digest's version of 'Swear to God'. Overall it is a good introduction to the Catholic Church's interpretation of Revelation, but if you want meat, instead of water-down milk, read the Church Fathers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No longer am I intimidated by the Book of Revelation. Dr. Hahn simplifies the images of Revelation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an answer to prayer for any person who has asked God to grant him/her a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mystery of the Catholic Mass. Any cradle Catholic who has fallen away from the Church because 'I'm not being fed at my local parish,' read this book and open your eyes to the utter glory of the privilege that you have abdicated--to receive the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, our Marriage Supper with the Lamb. Dr. Hahn's passion, intelligence, and faithfulness shine through in his delineation of the relevance of the Apostle John's vision in the Book of Revelation to the Mass. It's not new information, but his style and approach are perhaps a bit more compelling to the lay person than the style of the Catholic Catechism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was truly an 'experience' in reading. While many well-intentioned Christians have misconstrued the events of the book of Revalation, Dr. Hahn has returned to the Church's earliest sources and brought into light what has always been taught by the Magisterium about the subject. Every Christian NEEDS to read this book to fully awaken their life in Jesus Christ.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Reason for Reading: I love Scott Hahn's writings and plan to read as much of his work as possible. This is his most popular book so I decided to read it next.This book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, something that is always important to me when reading Catholic non-fiction. Going back to the early Christian's for inspiration Hahn shows us how they used the Book of Revelation to understand the Mass. The two are connected to such an amazing degree that Hahn's easy to read lay person voice makes everything he explains abundantly clear. Hahn uses a heavy foundation of Old Testament scripture and explains thoroughly the need for sacrifice in the OT Jewish religion. This increasingly sheds light on Jesus' role as "lamb" in the New Testament, in Revelation and in the Mass. Hahn shows how Revelation is divided into two parts at Chapter 11 equalling the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When "we lift up our hearts" we literally are lifting them up to heaven and the Mass is the one place and time that we experience Heaven on earth.I have my monthly missal on my bedside table and as I was reading this book, I found myself grabbing it and reading through the actual words of the Mass as Hahn explained meanings of certain parts. I know my responses and I take them seriously. I always get tears when I say "I am not worthy ..." but Hahn made me see them again in a new light, such as examining the "Holy, holy, holy". But more than this, Hahn had me reading the priest's lines and truly grasping what is happening at Mass with new eyes. Every Catholic knows that Jesus, the angels and saints are with us at Mass but by reading this book you'll fully understand when, where and why. This is certainly a book that bears repeated readings. It is a short book, but I took my time with it usually only reading a chapter a night to mull it over (ok sometimes two). Just writing this review makes me want to go to Mass! This is a book every Catholic should read especially if you have fallen into the rut of following the routine and not paying attention to what you are doing and saying. You are missing the most wonderful part of being Catholic, the Mass, Heaven on earth. Read, read, read this book!
smouw on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Despite being a Catholic all of my life, I learned much from this book; it reaffirms the importance of attending Mass and understanding all the tradition, ritual, and promises fulfilled each time the Mass is celebrated. I appreciated the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament--I had many aha moments as I read this book.
Wiszard on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Dr. Scott Hahn provides another book that explains in very easy to understand terms the relevance of the Mass today. The book is divided into 3 parts each with 4 chapters. I highly recommend this book to any Catholic and to anybody interested in the meaning of the Mass.
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siena57 More than 1 year ago
Good info on Catholic procedures etc.
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Belle67 More than 1 year ago
I am a cradle Catholic. This book gave me a new view of the events of the mass, as seen through Scott Hahn's interpretation of the book of Revelation. I have a deeper understanding of some parts of the mass, and that has helped me deepen my faith. This was a great book that I am sure I will reread!
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