Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, CRL and and Fr. Ferdinand Prat, SJ
Edited by Aloysius Croft
A unique book about Christmas!
Originally printed in 1956 this unique book about Christmas is best described by its editor in his Preface:
"There are many beautiful books about Christmas. The Christmas story is the sort of story that inspires loving thoughts and lovely fancies that yearn to be communicated—to be spoken or written down. But of all the many books about Christmas, we know of none just like this one; and that must be our excuse for it.
Legends and stories are well enough, particularly when they are as beautiful as many of the Christmas legends are; but the plain facts can be beautiful too. Hence, we have gone back to the Gospels for the basic framework of the story, because there is no other place to go. St. Luke and St. Matthew tell us all we really know about it; while St. John goes back beyond Nazareth and Bethlehem into heaven itself, for the eternal generation of the divine Son. This is primary source material.
Then for an historical reconstruction of the nativity scenes—to fill in the outline, so to speak, of the Gospels—we have drawn upon two authors, historians and Scripture scholars of note. Both Abbot Joseph Ricciotti and Father Ferdinand Prat, S.J., have written outstanding and well-known Lives of Christ, from which we have taken the accounts in this work."
In addition to the original 6 drawings, this edition has been enlarged to include biographies of the authors, 5 maps, a diagram, and 46 pictures with explanatory captions.
Saddle-stitched, illustrated, 132 pages.
Shipping after Nov. 25.
The St. Louis Register (Vol. 16, N. 52, Dec. 21, 1956)
The Book Corner; By Reid N. Moore
Christmas Without Holy Guesswork: The Mystery of Christmas
The mystery of Christmas can never grow old or stale precisely because it is the mystery of a compelling love which is eternal. The brilliant inventiveness of writers and the misguided loving devotion of saints have somewhat blurred or distorted the potential mystery because of their understandably human desire to enlarge upon the theme of God’s love for man. Thus Christmas is enshrined in legends and fancies that are more pietistic than true, more sanctimonious than sober. The plain truth emerges, however, that Christmas is a tremendous fact without any artistic embellishments and holy guesswork.
The only true source for the mystery of Christmas is, of course, the Gospels. The Evangelists, truth to tell, are notably vague and disappointingly terse, seeming to indicate that the fact of Our Lord’s birth requires no advertising or elaboration. The tremendous mystery of Christmas needs no explanation save loving contemplation, they apparently say. But for those of us who like our theology temperate and our religion realistic, this little book is a boon. The editor, Aloysius Croft, removes all the glamour and tinsel that tend to clutter up Christmas and destroy its essential meaning and sometimes perhaps to reduce it to the level of a glorified Christmas myth. The editor draws upon the Catholic biblical scholars to fill in the blanks which the Evangelists left void. Abbott Ricciotti and Father Prat supply the historical and scriptural background without which the story of Christmas is unintelligible.
The editor employs the Kleist-Lilly translation of the Scriptures with its modern, fluent translations of the greatest story ever told. As a kind of mood music he has included the sonorous, ringing language of the Roman Martyrology for the Feast of Christmas, beautiful poetic prose that carries the soul back to the dawn of time and forward to the thrilling event in which God’s love for man became Incarnate. This is truly a sublime book, the result of sound scholarship, careful research, and living and loving faith that raptures the Eternal in terms of the temporal.
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