I've been trying to do more reading of late, now that the Octave of Easter has passed, and thespian activities in the household have subsided. It irritates me greatly when such things coincide, as they did this year, with opening night happening exactly one week from the beginning of the Triduum.
I like my holidays to be something I can focus on.
At any rate, I have had time for some reading.
One book is a children's book I have been reading to my son. It is a reprint by Sophia Institute Press of a title originally published by Benziger Brothers in 1882, and is called "Bible Stories for Little Children".
This is not the brightly coloured, padded cover type of children's Bible story book, but a little paperback with pen and ink drawings. This does not for a minute deter my son, who is five and developmentally delayed, from wanting to look at them!
The stories are succinct, but what has really grabbed MY interest so far is how brief commentary on some stories is used to point out where Old Testament stories are 'figures' (the word they use) of events in the New Testament.
I think the word we might be more familiar with is 'prefigurement' (perhaps too difficult a word for the younger reader!). Two examples I have come across so far are the passage through the Red Sea being a 'figure' of Baptism, and the manna in the desert being a figure of the Eucharist.
This impresses me greatly and at the same time illustrates how far Catholic Education has suffered. This book, I would guess, was originally intended for children from about 5 years of age and up.
I am a 45 year old Catholic who attended 11 years of Catechism classes, and attended Mass nearly every Sunday of my life, and it was not until about 8 years ago that I learned about the prefigurements in Scripture. IF I was ever taught, I certainly did not retain it! And here is this critical information being given to "Little Children" according to the book's title!
So why are these prefigurements so critical, anyway?
Last week, the Religious Ed session I had with the candidate I am teaching focused on Mary, Mother of God. There is little written about Mary in Sacred Scripture...at least on the surface. If one is aware of the prefigurements and types (another term used for prefigurements of a human sort) presented in the Old Testament, the story of Mary gains depth and breadth, and what is often dismissed as merely tradition by those who put no stock in Sacred Tradition, gains a great deal of credibility.
So, yes, I am pleased with this book and look forward to finishing it. I hope also to be finishing up "Everlasting Man" by GK Chesterton, which I am enjoying greatly, and "Remaining Catholic", published by ACTA which was loaned to me at Mass this morning.