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“This blog is like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.” – Fr. Z
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"But if, in any layman who is indeed imbued with literature, ignorance of the Latin language, which we can truly call the 'catholic' language, indicates a certain sluggishness in his love toward the Church, how much more fitting it is that each and every cleric should be adequately practiced and skilled in that language!" - Pius XI
"Let us realize that this remark of Cicero (Brutus 37, 140) can be in a certain way referred to [young lay people]: 'It is not so much a matter of distinction to know Latin as it is disgraceful not to know it.'" - St. John Paul II
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Grant unto thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that She, being gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may be in no wise troubled by attack from her foes. O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of Thine anger which we deserve for our sins. Almighty and Everlasting God, in whose Hand are the power and the government of every realm: look down upon and help the Christian people that the heathen nations who trust in the fierceness of their own might may be crushed by the power of thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
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Daily Archives: 10 September 2006
Holy Mass is both the Sacrifice of the Cross renewed, and the Supper, a meal foreshadowing the heavenly banquet to come. It is Calvary being renewed inseparably within the context of the renewal of the Last Supper Christ celebrated with His Apostles as His Passion began. Holy Mass is simultaneously both Supper and Sacrifice.
Perhaps in the last two decades and more, we have all experienced descriptions of Holy Mass which emphasize the meal dimension of the liturgical action to the point that the sacrificial dimension of Mass is so completely obscured that it is virtually obliterated. This eclipsing of the sacrificial aspect by the more warm and comforting meal facet results nearly always in a choice of a liturgical style that, to put it mildly, departs from the traditional Roman style. I think it is not unusual in the least to find in the meal point of view a greater measure of fellowship and celebration, commonality, and even informality (particularly in a culture becoming ever more informal). While the meal characteristic might be described as more “horizontal,” the sacrificial element is decidedly more “vertical.” The very thought of “sacrifice” might lead most people to be introspective rather than outgoing, quiet and reserved rather than boisterous, solemn rather than informal. Therefore, the style of service at the altar, the content of homilies, the choice of music, the quality of vestments and so forth, will be very much influenced by the gravitational pull exerted by one “force” in the Mass or the other, meal or sacrifice, horizontality or verticality, introspection or outward expressiveness.
Yet, the Holy Mass of Catholics must be allowed to reveal both dimensions, meal and sacrifice, in a dynamic unity. What I mean by dynamic here is that from day to day, week to week, season to season, Holy Mother Church may highlight one more than the other according to the time and feast. Also, within a Mass we might be more sensible of now one, now the other as being the primary focus of a prayer, an action, and even a silence and rest. All of us are challenged to maintain a balance of vision and perception during Mass. When the meal dimension is being brought to the fore, we must always strive to view the meal through the lens of sacrifice, and vice versa. This is particularly the challenge of the priest, sometimes banally described by some who emphasize the horizontal, as the “waiter” at the “meal.” He must be both “servant” in the sense of “ministry” (from Latin ministro which among various things means “to serve out or hand out food”) as well as the priest/victim, simultaneously offering sacrifice and being sacrificed on the altar, which is simultaneously a “table.” Continue reading
EXCERPT: [Someone asked about “astare” in the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer and wanted a clarification for those who want to say that this means that people must stand during the Eucharistic Prayer.]
To your question about astare: I wrote about this in the series on the Eucharistic Prayers in June 2004. The Preface of the 4th Eucharistic Prayer uses similar vocabulary. I wrote in these WDTPRS pages last year but, Fr. RF, you made me dig a little more. Some might not immediately recognize asto as adsto, which the precious Lewis & Short Dictionary says means, “to stand at or near a person or thing, to stand by”. The L&S will also make clear that asto has the synonym adsisto. If you have ever heard the phrase “to assist (adsisto) at Holy Mass” this is the concept: you are present and actively participating. Also, during the Roman Canon the priest describes the people as circumstantes, literally “standing around”. This doesn’t mean ought to be physically standing around the altar with their hands in their pockets (though I must confess I have seen precisely that). Rather, they are morally and spiritually “around” the altar, participating each according to their vocation and capacity. In his supplement to L&S, A. Souter says that adsto is the equivalent of sum. A. Blaise, on the other hand, says liturgical adsto is “to be nearby; to serve”. The same goes for adsisto. I think anyone who would try to use this as a defense of standing during the consecration would be using a terribly superficial argument. Moreover, whatever the translation says, the Church’s clear liturgical law says that at that moment, unless they are impeded, everyone must be kneeling at the time of the consecration in most of the world’s dioceses. In the USA people must kneel from the end of the Sanctus, through the whole of the Eucharistic Prayer, to the end of the great “Amen” (GIRM 23). This adaptation was purposely sought by the bishops of the USA and it was approved by Rome. Are people kneeling? Continue reading