I had the pleasure of reading column by Bp. Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island. HERE
Keeping our Eyes on the Prize: Jesus
Let us keep our eyes fixed on
Jesus, the leader and perfecter of our faith. (Heb 12:2)
And St. John Paul offered this affirmation: “The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it, but also by praying before it outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the wellspring of grace.”
In short, praying before the Blessed Sacrament is an excellent way of nourishing our friendship with Christ.
That shouldn’t be surprising, though, for it’s only natural to look at the one to whom we’re speaking, isn’t it? It’s that same instinct, I think, that’s leading to a renewed appreciation of the celebration of the Mass ad orientem, that is, priest and people facing the Lord, instead of one another. Keep in mind, it is an approved liturgical option.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and champion of ad orientem worship, in a recent interview explained the need for “conversion,” a turning-around, this way: “The best way to celebrate, for priests and faithful, is turned together in the same direction – toward the Lord who comes. It’s to turn together toward the apse, which symbolizes the East, where the cross of the risen Lord is enthroned. By this manner of celebrating, we experience even in our bodies, the primacy of God and adoration.”
The orientation of the priest while celebrating Holy Mass is a fruitful discussion, one that we might explore at some point in the future.
But far more important than our physical posture is the openness of our minds and hearts; to remember that our prayer is the foundation of our faith and the key to spiritual growth. It is in prayer, after all, that we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.”
Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Tobin.