Question: What do you get when you combine the love of Lego brick building with the desire to share the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Catholic faith?
Answer: The Holy Mass-On Earth As It Is In Heaven by Kevin and Mary O’Neill, which is the second book in the Building Blocks of Faith Series
I am so happy the O’Neill’s and their creative, hard-working brick building family and friends wrote this second book. I enjoyed reading the first one, Catechism of the Seven Sacraments, with my children.
Reading The Holy Mass-On Earth As It Is In Heaven, gives the reader an endless amount of “WOW! I didn’t know that!” moments to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Holy Mass. The authors highlight several examples of typology, which is ”the study and interpretation of types and symbols, originally especially in the Bible.” Throughout the book, many Old Testament prophecies are explained in order to fulfill the New Testament to show that Jesus Christ was obedient to his Father to become the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.
Here are 5 ways O’Neill’s creative book helped me have a deeper love and understanding of the Holy Mass.
1. Similarities between Isaac and Christ are on full display
To fully appreciate the Holy Mass, the authors start at the beginning with salvation history-the greatest story ever told. In Chapter 1, The Problem and the Solution: Sin, Salvation, and the Timeless Sacrifice,” I learned that Isaac in the Old Testament represents Jesus Christ in the New Testament. A few examples of this connection are:
Both Isaac and Christ had miraculous conceptions.
Isaac was Abraham’s only begotten Son. Christ is our heavenly Father’s only begotten Son.
Isaac carried the wood on his back up the mountain. Christ carried the wood the cross on his back up the mountain for His sacrifice.
God provided the ram stuck in the thorns on the way to the sacrifice. Christ, the Lamb of God, was crowned with thorns on the way to the sacrifice.
The sacrifice of Isaac was to take place on a mountain, Mount Moriah. Christ’s crucifixion was also on a mountain, that of Golgotha.
2. The false Gods of the Egyptians
In Chapter 2, “The New and Everlasting Covenant: The Holy Eucharist”, I learned that the plagues that God sent in Egypt corresponded with the false gods that Pharaoh worshipped to show Pharaoh that God was the one true God. A few examples are:
- Pharaoh believed in Hapi, the water bearer and false Egyptian god of the Nile. God showed His mighty power by sending the first plague of turning the Nile River and all the waters into blood.
- Pharaoh believed in Heket, the false Egyptian goddess with the head of a frog. God’s second plague brought frogs to overtake the lands of Egypt.
- Pharaoh believed in Ra, the false Egyptian Sun god. God once again showed His mighty power by bringing three days of total darkness to Egypt.
3. Jesus as the Second Moses
In Chapter 3 titled “The Exodus and the Mass Our Path to Heaven, I learned that Jesus should be viewed as the new Moses. Here are a few connections between Moses and Jesus:
- In Deuteronomy, God told Moses that he would raise up a prophet just like him. That prophet is Jesus!
- When Moses was born, a sign in the sky showed that a prophet was among them. When Jesus was born, another sign appeared in the sky showing that a prophet was among them.
- Pharoah sent out an edict to have all the young boys killed in order to slay the prophet. Herod, in the New Testament, sent out an edict to have all the young boys killed to kill the prophet among them.
- Moses escaped in the heart of Egypt to avoid Pharoah’s wrath. The Angel told the Holy Family to get and go to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath.
- Moses had 12 tribes. Jesus Christ had 12 apostles (a spiritual re-gathering of the 12 tribes of Israel.
4. Priestly roots
In Chapter 4, “Preparing for Mass, Meet Fr. Joshua”, I learned that a priest’s preparation for Mass begins well before he processes up the aisle. A priest dresses in sacred vestments that are specially reserved for the Eucharistic celebration, and he recites a specific prayer for each one because each has a special meaning. For example, priests put on an alb, a long white garment, to signify the white robe that Herod dressed Christ in to mock Him. There are several other pieces to priests’ vestments that are worth reading about. What a priest does to prepare for Mass gave me a better understanding of all that is going on at Mass with events I don’t see or hear.
5. Not just foreign words
In Chapter 5, “The Holy Mass, The New Exodus”, it speaks of the three liturgical languages used in the Mass: Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. These are to remind us of the scroll at the top of the Crucifix, which proclaims: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, written in the three languages. The three languages were all spoken at the Crucifixion and now in each Mass, where the Crucifixion is made present to us!
Kyrie Eleison (Greek for “Lord have mercy”)
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Latin for “Glory to God in the Highest”)
Hallelujah (Hebrew for “Praise Yahweh”) and “Amen” (Hebrew for “I Believe”)
The two Lego figures, Fulton and Cynthia, that first made their debut in Catechism of the Seven Sacraments, once again take the reader on an exciting adventure about the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church in The Holy Mass On Earth As It is in Heaven. I learned so much! I loved the beautiful, organized layout, illustrations, details (each scene is its own artistic masterpiece) and the Scripture, Catechism and Saint quote references for further study. I would recommend both books for children and adults!
To close, I agree with Cynthia wholeheartedly when she tells Fulton, “All of this has given me a new appreciation of the Mass: Its beauty, its Biblical roots, and it’s sacredness. It is truly as you say: a timeless sacrifice and a sacred encounter with God.” The Holy Mass on Earth as it is in Heaven is a fabulous resource that all homes, parishes, church leaders, clergy, teachers, kids and adults should own! It’s a book that will definitely build a greater love and understanding of the Holy Mass!