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.