Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tridentine For Dummies II

What Is Liturgy at its Core.

The Liturgy at its very core, at its heart is but one thing; it is a public work. We have all Eaten at restaurants and many of us at fast food places, what goes on behind the counter is little different than what goes on at a Liturgy, be It a Novus Ordo, a Tridentine, a Byzantine, or an Chaldean...

Wait did you just really compare the Liturgy to fast food?
If you are asking this question then the answer is yes, I did and I think its a very good analogy. In the liturgy of Mc. Donald's each person behind the counter has their place and their specific liturgical function. Order taker 1 takes your Order, while the cook methodically prepares your food. First the bun then the catchup, mustard, pickles, onions, cheese, meat and finally wrap it. While this is going on someone is preparing your fries for you and possibly your drink. Then the "runner"(or more simply the person who gets you your food) places it in a
bag or on the tray. While this is going on order taker 2 is taking another order while someone in drive thru is taking another order, as the cook continues to prepare each sandwich in neck-break speak his assistant continues to prepare each hamburger patty. In this Liturgical dance like any each person must know their place know their proper responsorial and do the action at the appropriate time, if not... we have witnessed what happens. Its complete mess that takes forever to get straitened out. But if everyone does their part when they are suppose to and how they are suppose to then what looks like simple chaos to the naked eye is in reality a carefully orchestrated masterpiece.

It is the same thing in our own morning routines it is the Liturgy of the day which is carried out methodically and with care. If however we are living an undisciplined life then our liturgy is always out of sync. How would it be if every time an employee of Mc. Dolands came to work they tried to do things their own way they tried to reinvent their liturgical function? Would they not create a mess would there be no organization, how would anything productive get done? Thus in our lives we must have an organized Liturgy by which our day, week, month year, is operated.

So much more then is the importance of our Religious Liturgy. What is unorganized Chaos is not of God it is not for God it is not with God it is not though God it is an abomination to God. Unorganized Chaos is the liturgy which worships the Anti-gods. Liturgy being woven into our very fabric, into the fabric of the irrational man within us all, we are the liturgy we practice. If our Liturgy is loud, if our Liturgy is obnoxious, if our liturgy is profane, or apathetic, this is a refection up us, upon our very character.

Do not even some Atheists say "Man is religious by his nature, man must have Liturgy and ritual or man is not complete", and do not even some Atheists say "That which has not Organized Chaos as his Liturgy has Nihilism as his Liturgy, These men believers of a god or not must be destroyed for they live to the destruction of all else". This then expresses the importance of an organized and repetitive Liturgy, it is this sameness which brings about order in our lives, this religious rigor which spreads out over the rest of us to say to our lives "here there will be peace."

When one innovate the liturgy then let him be anathema for he innovates the soul and thus seeks to destroy its harmony.

The Liturgy of Christians

There are many different types of Liturgies we have as Christians: Liturgy of the Hours, Liturgy of the word, Liturgy of the Eucharist only to name but a few. It is however the last of these which I mentioned which is of the greatest importance, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the re presentation of the Sacrifice of the Lord and Creator of all of the Universe. Here there must be solemness for here we pray not at the foot of the altar of pagan gods by which we are with great joy and fervor feasting on the flesh of idol sacrificed animals which give no meaning or hope to man. Instead we pray the prayer at the foot of the cross, one of sorrow and lamentation of spirit we cry to the heavens "LORD! LORD! Who has crucified you?" then with contrite heart "Here I see none but myself, My Lord! My God! It is I who have nailed you to the cross, I have driven my sin into your heads and feat, I have placed the burden on your head with thorns, your side I pierced! Forgive my unbelief! Forgive my foolish way's! Turn my heart O'Lord that I may seek none but you."

We do not dance and sing as if at some feast! "I am not perfect enough for that yet", we call forth our sins and sing songs of love and sorrow for "I have murdered the one whom I loved, His blood be on my hands and upon no other".

The liturgy then must be done with great care and love, it must not be carried out even at days of feasting as a joyous event on our part, no even on days of feasting we feast not because of us but because of the Lord who has saved us thus even our feasting is in solemness.

We then at the Liturgy of the Divine Sacrifice pour out ourselves in sorrowful love to our Lord, and this is the meaning of Christian Liturgy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tridentine for Dummies I

This is a new series I intend on publishing weekly so look for the updates.

The Purpose of the Liturgy

What is the Purpose of the Liturgy? Have you ever asked yourself this question, and if not why? In case you haven't ever asked yourself this question take a moment now and reflect asking yourself what the purpose of the Liturgy is. Have you done that? Good, What did you come up with? To come together as a community in prayer... well not exactly. The purpose of the Liturgy is similar to that of Eucharistic Adoration the only difference is that unlike Eucharistic Adoration we receive the body and blood of our Lord. The Purpose of the Liturgy is then not simply to draw us into heaven with the Angels and Saints, but to draw us into God. That the Angels and Saints are there is nothing more than secondary. I, myself am there with the Lord God Creator of the Universe. The Purpose more expressly is to draw us into the solitude of contemplation.

Solitude does not mean loneliness or being alone for who can escape God? No Solitude is what you may have been more commonly called "A personal Relationship with Jesus Christ". The objection that normally shows up about now is "Yes but what about the Saints? We cant exclude them", no and we should not. Do you have a large family? I have 5 brothers who I love to death, when I am with 1 I am always mindful of the rest, but I understand that sometimes they want to spend more personal time with me 1 on 1. Or when I am with all 5 we may all be in the same room however I may be more focused on one at the moment than I am on the rest. This does not mean I ignore them it only means that my attention is focused. The Mass be it the Tridentine or the Novus Ordo is the same way, when the Liturgy is going on I am focused on one Brother on the eldest Brother Jesus Christ. "But Christ is in us" one might object... Yes this is true, however Christ is present in the Church, in the tabernacle in a way he is not present in my neighbor.

If we wish to participate in communal events outside of the Liturgy which praise worship and Glorify God there are many other ways to do this that are fitting. However if I am showing up to Mass one day a week and I am coming for the communal element of worship I am coming for the wrong reason. My reason for coming to the Liturgy should always be to be drawn into a contemplative prayer, how I feel is not important, what I get out of it is irrelevant. I do not even come to receive communion though this is good. I come because the Supreme Creator and Ruler of the Universe Humbled Himself, became Man, Lived, suffered and Died. In The unbloody sacrifice of the Mass I am transported back or rather the crucifixion is transported forward and perpetuated continually Here on the Altar until the end of time. I come to unite myself with God in a way that I cannot do anywhere else and all other unification is through him, it is centered on him. With out him there are no Saints, I have no brothers and sisters so while it is good to pray together, here I must put first things first and focus completely on God and be with him in a way I am not with him any other time.

The Liturgy is not a Party, its not a "Celebration" in the "happy" sense of the word, It is a solemn celebration. Just imagine if you will being at the foot of the cross seeing the person you love the one who loves you more than life itself the one who is dieing for you who has suffered so much so that you do not have to suffer eternal punishment. Just imagine how innocent he is how pure how clean and yet. Yet he is taking your punishment he is paying a debt that is not his to pay, out of Love. Watch The Passion of the Christ and play "Happy" music, listen to the guitars rock out. Cant you see the disgust on the blessed Mothers face. Her Son just died for you and rather than solemness you are acting as though it is some sort of party!

Prayer and the Liturgy

There are two forms of prayer in the Liturgy both of which are contemplative forms. The first form is what is sometimes called Vertical Prayer. This form of prayer is directed at and through Jesus our Lord. particular examples of this form are the Credo (I believe) and the Our Father.

The rather common mistake that the Our Father is a communal prayer come from a lack of good teaching. Lex Orandi Lex Credendi, How you pray is how you believe. Holding our hands out like most people have been taught to do implicitly in what is called Orans, by its very nature implies community or rather the larger community present. This however is not appropriate as when we pray the Our Father even privately we always pray Our Father. This is because we never say the prayer alone, by this I do not mean we pray this as the whole Church but rather that I... Me... I pray this with Christ. This prayer is said with me and Christ to the Father. I am able to approach the Father only because Christ is with me. This is why it is proper to pray with your hands folded, while we are praying this prayer with others present the prayer is between Me, Christ, and the Father.

Another commonly mistaken communal prayer is the Credo or the Creed as it is called in English, this is of course do to the horrible translation of the creed which is used at the Novus Ordo. Credo in its Latin means I believe, Thus when we say Credo in unum Deum(I believe in one God)... It is I professing my Faith in front of Others in a prayerful way, I... Me... With complete free will... This is what I believe, not anyone else, it doesn't matter what they believe... I BELIEVE THIS PERIOD.... I don't care what anyone else claims to believe. It is me taking personal ownership and responsibility for my Faith, this is always why we say in the Novus Ordo "I confess to you my brothers...". I am owning up to my own short comings, me, in front of a crowd which is very difficult and a complete submitting of my own pride. or in other words "Me? I have sins?". This vertical type of Prayer is not Ego centered it is rather Christ centered and it is I coming before him unworthy as I am and saying Please forgive me.

The other type of prayer is horizontal prayer, we can recognize this type of prayer because the Priest says "Oremus." or in English "Let us pray". Here is where we as a community join our prayers together with the Priest who sends them through the head(Christ) to God the Father.

There is another set of prayers that is said in the Tridentine that while remnants of it exist in the Novus Ordo they are not many. There are certain Prayers in both The Tridentine and the Novus Ordo which are said silently. These prayers have the express purpose of being prayers to Christ FOR the people, they are prayed in quite because they are not for us they are about us. It is our earthly head, the Priest who we send to Christ and God the Father to plead on our behalf. Who am I that I may approach God? "And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." In this we realize our Humility and it is fulfilled. One is chosen from among us and that one is Moses he is our intercessor to God, to Christ the Living God. This is why we pray for the Holiness of our Priests that they may be worthy to have Christ through them offer His body blood soul and Divinity.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why Latin?

One of my Classmates asked me today about why we can't just use the vulgar during the liturgy, well he didn't quite put it that way he said vernacular but it is the same thing. The vernacular is the common tongue and vulgar simply means common. But I will deal with vulgarity in the worship of The Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe in another part of this post, for now let me deal with why we use Latin to begin with.

Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the Temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies where God dwelt from the rest of the Temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the High Priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7), enter into God's presence for all of Israel, and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).

It was the practice of the early Christians to place between the celebrant and those in attendance a veil which bot thinner and thiner in the Wester Latin Rite church. We can still see evidence of this veil however in the Western Churches in what is commonly known as an Iconostasis. This wall which separates the sanctuary from the common of the Church. We don't today think much of that word sanctuary so let me make this point about it sanct-u-ary, SAiNct, SAiNT, sanctus in latin means Holy the sanctuary is the Holy place, while the entire church is Holy the Sanctuary is the Holy of Holies just like the temple was Holy and the temple had a special Holy of Holies(Sanctuary) where God dwelled. For this reason the Early Christians believing in the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Iesus Christ in the Eucharist divided the place where the sacrament was consecrated and the people. The Iconostasis which is still used today in the East both Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic maintains a thin veil and doors that are shut and opened several times during the Liturgy. In the Latin Church though because of many different factors the veil was replaced by Latin.

As I heard a Priest once say "Be the mass in English or in Latin we do not understand what is going on, it is a mystery." Only in the most inferior way do I in no language understand what is going on because language cannot express a mystery. If you were to say to me "I can explain to you in clear Language "This is my body, This is my blood" I would call you a liar, it simply is not possible, Transubstantiation does not explain how the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ only that it does and what we cannot say about the concerted bread and wine. I cannot understand how Iesus comes down and becomes the bread and wine or rather transforms them into him and how they maintain their attributes while not at all being bread and wine or while being bread and wine but not. Does your head hurt yet? Good you are just now beginning to understand what I mean about not understand. I will stop explaining about how you cant understand before your head explodes.

This is one reason we use Latin to help express the mystery. However that is not the only reason take again the Jewish and the and our Jewish roots, we are Jeudao-Christians or Jewish-Christians as opposed to Gnostic-Christians. The Jews had the practice at least in the time of Christ spoke Aramaic and Hebrew, Hebrew was reserved for the temple and Liturgical celebrations. In the same tradition we use two languages for our Liturgical tradition because the Vulgar the common is unfit for God, thus we have a special language to express the sacredness of God. We set apart certain cloths and certain symbols for the medical instruments of God(doctor), Bishops (the stethoscope), Priests (the scalpel), Deacons(tongue supressor), Religious brothers and sisters(penlight). So in the same way Peoples have been set aside as the special property of God we too set a language aside as a special tongue by which to communicate to God thus Latin is a Holy language just as Greek and Hebrew are Holy or Sanctified Languages. This Language now removes the Veil while still dividing the vulgar from the Holy, It creates an invisible shield for the Holy of Holies. Just as it is fitting and proper for us to not wear vulgar cloths to church so it is fitting and proper to speak a special tongue.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pater Noster I

Pater Noster / Our Father

how to say it in Latin

Our Father Who art in heaven:
Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
Pah tair no stair, kwee ess in chay lease

Hallowed be Thy name:
Sanctificétur nomen tuum:
Sahnk ti fee
chay tour no men too um:

Thy kingdom come:
Advéniat regnum tuum:
vain ee ott rayn yum too um:

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Fiat volúntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Fee ott vo
loon tass too ah, see coot in chay low, et in tair ah.

Give us this day our daily bread:
Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie:
Pah num no strum kwoe tid ee
ah noom da noe beese hoe dee ay:

And forgive us our trespasses
Et dimítte nobis débita nostra
Et di
mee tay no beese day bee tah noe stra

As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris.
See coot et noess di
meet ee moose deb ee tore ee boose noe streese.

And lead us not into temptation,
Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem,
Et nay noess in
duke ahs in ten tats ee oh nem,

But deliver us from evil. Amen
Sed libéra nos a malo. Amen .
Sed lee ber
ah nos ah mahl low. Ah men.
The year is zero Summorum Pontificum.

Alright so maybe not but This does mark a new millennium and the much needed much sought after Reform of the Reform. Those of you who read the New Liturgical Movement know how long and how hard many of us have fought for this and now after fifty years it has final come. Our Holy Father Benedict the Great Has done more for us (and by us I mean The Church) than many of us ever dreamed and much much more than any (at least myself and others I know) dare truly hoped for. Summorum Pontificum or "The Motu Proprio" as it is commonly called is bringing about new hope and new joy, it is brining forth fire and zeal to a dieing world and to a dieing religion.

Did you just say dieing religion?

Isn't that the queer of it all, Christianity as a whole has been dieing for 2000 years, and then in its darkest moment after the murder, after the last patch of dirt has been laid down upon the earth and patted down it in all of its Glory, no in even more Glory than before comes back to life, the obstinate Christ resurrected and re-resurrected each time to be crucified again and each time to break out in some new place with more zeal and power each time. All Rites of Holy Mother Church Latin, and Byzantine, Chaldean and all the others have suffered for the last 5o years more than any other time in Church History, and it is the older generation that is trying to kill our Blessed Mother, those who love chaos and see it as a valid form of worship, who see destruction and ugliness as beauty and creation. And they who most hate us the young. Do not think I am applying a blanket statement because had it not been for some both known and unknown we would never have had a foot, all our past would have been lost to us as amnesia over a man.

I find it amazing how those most excited about the rebirth of the Tridentine are not the 50 and 60 somethings but the 13-25 crowed. And Easter Orthodox and Eastern Catholics are excited about it too, and why would they be? because they see a love for tradition Tradition and Faith.

The posts over the next several weeks (or so I hope I can post regularly) will be an attempt to show what this means and what we can hope for as well as to explain the Tridentine Liturgy in all its beauty.