By Stratford Caldecott
“Not every pattern of seven in Scripture or tradition can be forced into a scheme that relates it to the seven sacraments.” So Stratford Caldecott admits on page 100 of this short but fascinating book. But if there are any patterns that can be so “forced” that he does not find and integrate into a magnificent and interlocking web of sevens that yields a wealth of insightful connections between the seven Sacraments of the Church and a host of other lists … well, I would have no idea what those might be.
This is the second book by Caldecott that I have read – less than ideally, I am reading what I would consider (in my somewhat ill-formed opinion, having discovered him only fairly recently) his “Catholic Trilogy” out of order, having started with the middle book, All Things Made New. And having proceeded directly from The Seven Sacraments into The Radiance of Being, which deals with the mysteries of existence itself, I’ve come to the conclusion that Stratford Caldecott is right up there with G. K. Chesterton in another way, beyond those noted in my blog review of All Things Made New [LINK]. He makes Christianity weird in a fascinating and beautiful way [see here with regard to GKC: LINK]. Sure, as I told my wife the other night, “I’m going to read some more Stratford Caldecott and get a headache,” trying to get my head around the concepts he throws around makes my head hurt, but I think that is just my mind being forcibly expanded – to the better.