Daily Archives: 10 September 2006

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: POST COMMUNION (1)

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.” Read More

1 Comment

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: COLLECT (2)

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? Read More

Comments Off on 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: COLLECT (2)

Sunday Mass on Z-Cam

Well… I think Mass is going to be at 0900 Sabine Daylight Time (=CDT) which is 1600 in Rome. If it is going to be earlier, well…. I’ll post what I can when I can. I could stick a small … Read More

Posted in My View, SESSIUNCULA |