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.