PODCAzT 38: Ratzinger on “active participation”; The Sabine Farm; Merry del Val’s music


Our PODCAzT today comes after a long break.  I has some technical problems.

In today’s PODCAzT I continue the project I started last time of looking at some fundamental characteristic of Holy Mass, especially in light of the older, extraordinary use of the Roman Rite. Our guide is Joseph Ratzinger’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy. Today we get into what "active participation" means. Also, I talk about The Sabine Farm, since so many people are curious about it. We hear some poetry by Horace and also a snip of a book called The Cardinal, in which the poetry of the great Horace is featured.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Thank you once again Father!

  2. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Professor Ratzinger understands better than many the mystical nature that God imbued in human speech, especially after Christ changed history. A key insight is his recognition of the intimate connexion between the actio divina and the oratio spoken by man. Here are the divine gift of human speech and the divine action made one in spirit. What makes me wonder is why, over the course of the twentieth century, our culture has nearly lost even the desire to understand how the collection of “merely human words” is transformed into the tool of the miraculous Logos. Well into the twentieth century philosophers and theologians of all stripes regularly began their Lebenswerke with their thoughts on the nature of human language. The fact that such discussions are now a rarity makes Dr. Ratzinger’s discussion all the more outstanding.

    As for the active participation of the body, the learned cardinal has made quite a contribution to the understanding of the necessity for and essential characteristics of the active participation of the whole being in the liturgy. Last Sunday at a small parish in one of the square states we are asked to “greet the priest” with the opening hymn! O that the “liturgists” would read and comprehend the humble approach of the Holy Father to the awesome and terrible Mystery of the Eucharist!

    Thank you, Father Zuhlsdorf, for a very enlightening podcazt.

    And on the Sabine farm, and the rural life vs. the urban bustle, I am reminded from my school days:

    Integer vitae scelerisque purus
    non eget Mauris iaculis neque arcu
    nec venenatis gravida sagittis,
    Fusce, pharetra,

    sive per Syrtis iter aestuosas
    sive facturus per inhospitalem
    Caucasum vel quae loca fabulosus
    lambit Hydaspes.

    Namque me silva lupus in Sabina,
    dum meam canto Lalagen et ultra
    terminum curis vagor expeditis,
    fugit inermem,

    quale portentum neque militaris
    Daunias latis alit aesculetis
    nec Iubae tellus generat, leonum
    arida nutrix. &c.

  3. mike says:

    Bravo Father. But you hardly touched on your Sabine.


  4. Denis: I don’t know if you intended this, but “Lalage” is also the name of a character in the book The Cardinal!

  5. Diane says:

    Fr. Z: Thanks again!

    Consider doing a podcazt or post on the same topic (and more) from Pope John Paul II’s Ad Limina address to the Bishops of the Church in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska in 1989. It is probably one of the most richest addresses on the liturgy by JPII and likely the least referenced by “liturgists”.

    Here are a few quotes from Bullet 4 where it really opens up:

    – “But full participation does not mean that everyone does everything, since this would lead to a clericalizing of the laity and a laicizing of the priesthood; and this was not what the Council had in mind.”

    – “…Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural. “

    – “Conscious participation calls for the entire community to be properly instructed in the mysteries of the liturgy, lest the experience of worship degenerate into a form of ritualism. But it does not mean a constant attempt within the liturgy itself to make the implicit explicit, since this often leads to a verbosity and informality which are alien to the Roman Rite and end by trivializing the act of worship. “

    – “The use of the vernacular has certainly opened up the treasures of the liturgy to all who take part, but this does not mean that the Latin language, and especially the chants which are so superbly adapted to the genius of the Roman Rite, should be wholly abandoned. If subconscious experience is ignored in worship, an affective and devotional vacuum is created and the liturgy can become not only too verbal but also too cerebral. “

  6. Tom says:

    Dear Father, can you list the songs and music you use in your podcazts? :-)

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Ratzinger’s “The Spirit of the Liturgy” is an excellent book, and I enjoy hearing you read it, Fr. Z.

  8. Charles Robertson says:

    Another great podcast! I look forward to these things more and more!

  9. Aumgn says:

    Interesting, as ever … I actually have an old vinyl record of Cardinal del Val’s compositions (some fifteen pieces in all I think).

  10. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Father, I did not know that Lalage is a character in The Cardinal. I should have posted the rest of Horace’s ode (I.22) in which Lalage becomes the punch line:

    Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis
    arbor aestiua recreatur aura,
    quod latus mundi nebulae malusque
    Iuppiter urget;

    pone sub curru nimium propinqui
    solis, in terra domibus negata;
    dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo,
    dulce loquentem.

    [There is a translation here.]

    In any case, this is a nice incentive for me to Robinson’s read book. I obviously can’t get by any more with the lame excuse that “I saw the movie.”

    Diane, Thanks for the quotations from John Paul II. To those who realize that “active participation” means, among other things, being intellectually engaged in the liturgy with the “whole heart, whole mind, whole soul,” it is no secret that being an active participant requires some hard mental work. This point often seems lost on congregants and celebrants alike. Using a Tridentine Daily Missal to read and pray the Mass along with the priest is hardly a passive act, as anyone who has done this knows. Let’s only hope that more people will read Cardinal Ratzinger’s inspired discussion on the spirit of the liturgy and let’s keep spreading the word that Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a blog….

  11. Denis: The character Lalage is also in the movie. She was in the village Fr. Fermoyle was sent to as punishment duty. She went to join a nursing order.

  12. MacBeth says:

    Thanks Father! I just started listening to your wonderful audio programs. I listen on Long Island, and have especially enjoyed St. Augustine as I take my daily walk along the beach. Ah, if only this were the Med!

  13. Dan O says:

    Delightful podcast, Fr. Z. You make a very interesting speaker. Sometimes, I think I enjoy your ‘secular’ themes more than your religious ones, but that is just me.

    I guess this is a ‘Yes’ vote.

  14. Richard says:

    I wrote on this same exact thing the other day and had similar (albeit less articulate) observations. (Click on my name if you want to read it.) Peace.

  15. JSW says:

    Help!! Fr. Z- What is the bumper music? My mother-in-law says it is “Call me” (NOT the Blondie one) I am trying to locate it on iTunes. Yes- I subscribe to your PODcastz!!

  16. Father, a fine podcast, as always! I’ll be reading The Cardinal!

    What was the music that you played before and after your reading from The Spirit of the Liturgy? The horns and choral crescendo were particularly striking.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks Fathers! Where did you find that music by Merry del Val?

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