Let me start with a bit of background information. I’m a convert to the Church; I was raised Southern Baptist. Some Southern Baptists can be quite taken with studying eschatology using one of the visions in Daniel and the book of Revelation. Such was certainly the case with an interim pastor we had, who ran seminars on that. I don’t remember the exact details (I attended said seminars when I was in late middle or early high school), I seem to remember them laying out fairly specific time lines for the end times. Not that he gave an exact year, but a fairly exact timeframe once things got started. I enjoyed the seminars, for they seemed to make the book a bit less scary, for I certainly didn’t understand Revelation.
By the time I went to college, I’d pretty much dismissed the rapture theology that was such a centrepiece of that pastor’s eschatology. I took a New Testament class, and Revelation was covered in the class. Far from using the book to explain/predict the end times, the professor provided a letter from some early Christians (for the life of me I can’t remember the details now) to show that they regarded the book as a sign of hope because we win in the end. S that was that, as far as I was concerned. My fascination with the book remained, but in the background.
With that background, I was intrigued by the description of Scott Hahn’s book The Lamb’s Supper, for it said it looked at Revelation being a description of the Mass. As it turns out, Hahn’s description of his background concerning the study of Revelation somewhat parallels mine. Since he was a pastor, his education and background in it was more extensive, of course, but it seems he also focused on the end times. So I could relate to his experiences to an extent.
What he said shouldn’t be news to cradle Catholics who have received good catechesis (or at least that was my husband’s take on it). But to me, it was wonderful. I agreed with Hahn that the other approaches/interpretations I mentioned above felt unsatisfactory because they were temporally limited, and Scripture should be applicable to all times, in my opinion. It’s not that those interpretations are invalid necessarily, but that Revelation is more than just about the end times or providing comfort. It is both of those, and more.
I was really struck by the liturgical elements in the book. Other than readings at Mass, I haven’t read through Revelation since my conversion, but I need and want to reread it now. I was amazed at looking at the ties between the liturgy and the book of Revelation. Turns out the early Christians saw this connection, too, from what I’ve seen thus far. It certainly gave an added dimension both to the book and to Mass. I highly recommend giving it a look. I really don’t feel I can do justice to describing it, so you’ll just have to read it. 😉