Friday, September 20, 2013

43. Ever Ancient, Ever New...

*Another post about reverence.*

Saint Augustine once said that the beauty of Jesus is "ever ancient, ever new." Jesus' beauty is reflected in His love for us. When we look at the crucifix, we see how much Jesus loved us then, and when we adore and consume the most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, we know how much He loves us now (Thoughts of Blessed Mother Teresa)!

Jesus loved/s us so much that He came to earth for us, lived and performed miracles for us, give us His FLESH TO EAT, was tortured and spilled His blood for us, rose from the dead for us, and gave us His one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church! Us! His sinful, fallen children! What a gift; what an amazing, undeserved gift!

Now, about that ever ancient, ever new

Not only does it apply to Jesus' beauty and love for us, it applies to all of the things that He did for us (listed above). He comes to earth every Mass, and remains with us when He is reserved in the Tabernacle or exposed on the Altar for Eucharistic Adoration. He performs miracles every day – how about the miracle of turning ordinary bread into the Flesh and Blood of our Lord! He gives of His Flesh to eat at every Mass. Also, at every Mass He dies and rises again.

Are you seeing a relationship? Jesus' life is contained within the Mass that we celebrate every week (or, for some of us, nearly every day!)

So if His Love is ever ancient, ever new, then why did the Mass change? Great question!

As many of you know, the Mass used to be said in Latin, Ad Orientem, with lots of genuflecting and bowing. Not so much anymore (unless if you're one of the lucky ones!) Now if you go to a "normal" Mass, it is in the native language of the community in which it is said, the priest (for the most part) faces the congregation, and the priest only genuflects about two or three times (I never actually counted…) So, what happened? 

Vatican II

I know, there was just a split down the middle of my readers, half got very happy and the other half got very angry at the sight of those two words. Calm yourselves.

There is a huge rift in the Church that may not be very visible to you. That's because unless you go to a Latin Mass, or both the Novus Ordo and TLM, or associate was such people, you most likely will not see/hear of this rift. 

In short, the Second Vatican Council, opened in 1962, was the first and only ecumenical council held not to defend the Church from heresy, but for the promotion of charity and unity. To my knowledge, the most obvious change that came about through Vatican II was the change in the Mass. This change is a case of "intentions versus impact." The intention was all good: to unite the Church by making the congregation more involved in the Mass and Liturgy (and perhaps to make Mass more interesting for them?). The impact was this: the Mass totally changed. Totally. Everything was turned around (literally, with regards to the priest).

Now, I don't consider myself to be totally on either side of the debate. I see both the good and the bad of the Second Vatican Council.

Good: people are involved in the Liturgy more, it is easier for people to understand, and "dumbed – down" a bit for people who don't totally understand all the language that the priest uses at Latin Mass.

Bad: LITURGICAL ABUSE! EVERYWHERE! And also a huge loss of reverence and awe of the Sacrifice that is really happening before our eyes.

So this is my main point:

I love the TLM. I love the Novus Ordo. I wouldn't trade one for the other EVER. But I would trade to disrespect for the reverence, the lukewarm atmosphere for that of devotion, and the distraction for awareness of the Presence of the Lord.

So let's make it happen! Let's bring back reverence, in a post – Vatican II world! Of course we can keep the Novus Ordo! Just like I said, I wouldn't get rid of it, however I think we should be able to incorporate aspects of the TLM into the NO Mass, Such as the priest's reverence during Consecration, the chanting, and it might not be all that bad for us to redecorate our Churches to look less like a modern art museum, and more like a sacred space where God dwells. (See my last post!)

Anyway (now that I've gone way off-topic, but this is stuff that needs to be said!!), back to ever ancient, ever new. As the Mass was nearly 50 years ago, is the Mass today (provided that it's said correctly). The Mass has the same essential parts: Introit, Liturgy of the Word, followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist, completed with the paramount moment – the reception of the Eucharist. This, of course, is followed by ablution (A word that many NO attendees don't know. How about "purification?") and then dismissal/final blessing. And at both of the Masses, the sacrifice of Calvary is made TRULY PRESENT. 

So if they're the same, why don't we act the same? I encourage you to treat the Novus Ordo like you would treat a High TLM, and set the scene for others who may not realize what an amazing miracle is going on in front of them. I promise you that (especially if you are young!) When people see you act in a reverent manner, receive him in a reverent manner, and altogether act like something spectacular is going on (believe me, there is!), they will start to gain an interest in the Mass. So set the mood, set the example.

It's all about REVERENCE

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