Traditional Mass

Friday, June 01, 2007

Here's a great article on the right way to worship at Mass, which, of course I agree with 100%! Now if only the Bishops and priests would follow the Holy Father's lead with the "reform the reform" of the Liturgy, I don't think we would need a Motu Proprio to force that issue that everyone is talking about!

Authentic participation in the Liturgy
Rev Nicola Bux and Rev Salvatore Vitiello

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - So far we have reflected on the sense of authentic participation in the Liturgy. The Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis dedicates a conspicuous part to the subject because it has been often misunderstood:

“ It should be made clear that the word "participation" does not refer to mere external activity during the celebration. In fact, the active participation called for by the Council must be understood in more substantial terms, on the basis of a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life” (52).

Therefore participation must not be understood in the light of a presumed ‘anthropological turning point’ to give to the Liturgy, because this has come about truly and superabundantly with the Incarnation of the eternal Logos. If anything the Liturgy needs a theological and Christological turning point.

In his book “Introduction to the spirit of the Liturgy” Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, defines it as a handing of everything to God, history, the cosmos, starting which oneself. From this we can deduce certain priority aspects to be reinstated:

1. Orient once again ad Dominum the prayer of the faithful, today disoriented, returning to the apostolic tradition of Christian churches facing east and in the liturgical practice, at least where this is possible. This gesture would bring us closer ecumenically to Eastern Christians. [Prayer should be from the faithful through the priest, in Christ to the Father, in one direction, Eastward! my comment]

2. Restore the relation tabernacle - altar. Adoration is not counter-posed to communion, neither is it beside it. This must lead to revision of theories with regard to conflicting signs which has decentralised the tabernacle and placed it in a secondary position and even putting in its place the priest's seat. [As Our Lady said to Fr. Gobbi, "Churches are built for Jesus and house His True Presence . . ." my quote]

3. Present again the relationship between Christian art and the Incarnation of God which came about to draw mankind into a process of ascent. Modern churches are often functional but rarely able to transmit beauty. [Sadly. some churches look like meeting halls, nothing sacred to lift our spirits, not even a crucifix! my comment]

4. Save liturgical music from the risk of diluting the Christian event in a sort of general mystics opening the door to gnosis and the New Age. [The music and songs of these days are not awe-inspiring and do not lead us to better worship of God. Lets hear some Gregorian Chant to lift us up to heaven! my comment]

5. Understand correctly the participation in the Liturgy wished by the Council. In the existing Roman Liturgy the expression “facti participes”, that is, made to share in an action which is not human, even though it comes about in a human discourse. Without awareness of being made to share, there can be no liturgical participation. Participation demands kneeling or a low bow, the principal attitude of adoration common to Catholics and Orthodox and also to Jews and Muslims. [ How many times have I seen the people and ministers totally ignore Christ's Presence in the Tabernacle and on the altar during the Consecration! my comment] This means returning to the Bible where it has central importance: in the New Testament alone it appears 59 times, of these 24 in Revelation the book of the heavenly Liturgy which is presented to the Church as a model and criteria for earthly Liturgy.

Lastly, eliminate applause which likens the Liturgy to a sort of entertainment with a religious basis. [This is becoming a habit here in my area, I never heard applause in New York. We are not at a show, but participating in the Mystery of Calvary, where the only ones who clapped were the executioners and those people who wanted Christ dead! my comment]

All this means having the courage to go against the stream but to remain in the bi-millennial tradition of the Church in the wake of the theologians of the Liturgical Movement who wished to restore the spirit of Christian Liturgy as adoration of the Father in the Holy Spirit and in the truth of Jesus Christ.

However to reform the reform instructions are not enough, what we need are exemplary places where the Liturgy is lived with faith and therefore celebrated with fidelity. Churches, which with the rite of dedication are saved from profane use and consigned to God, cannot serve as concert halls, or museums in which to exhibit the vainglory of the past; besides in the end this deprives the men and women of today from encountering the divine and converting their hearts, which is definitively the concrete finality of the Liturgy. Let us therefore encourage debate, without prejudice or exclusions, to understand the reasons; that this is necessary in every generation for correct understanding and worthy celebration of the Christian Liturgy. [Amen to that! my comment]

(Agenzia Fides 31/5/2007; righe 45, parole 636)