First… and this is pertinent… a young man in the Diocese of Madison is helping to collect the spiritual bouquet for the fearsome yet affable Bishop Robert Morlino. Yep. You can write about him every other day.
The Young Madisonian reports that, as of this writing:
68 contributors have prayed 198 rosaries, 129 chaplets of Divine Mercy, 48 hours of adoration, stations of the cross 21 times, and have had 70 Masses offered for Bishop Robert Morlino. There is 9 days left to join! Join us today!
But why I am really posting is that this same young man posted about a sermon Bp. Morlino gave about the importance of ad orientem worship.
If you want to listen to the sermon, go HERE.
Excerpt with my emphases and comments. I am not sure what the date of the sermon is:
[The first reading] says, “look to the east and see your children gathered” meaning the children, the saints, of the new and heavenly Jerusalem. […] The essence of waiting is waiting with your whole heart and soul. You’re turned in the direction that is that which you’re waiting for. And that gives your waiting a sure and certain hope, a beautiful hope. The prophet says “Look to the east.” Look toward heaven. Look toward the heavenly Jerusalem. And John the Baptist repeats the prophet in another place, saying: “Every valley will be made lifted up, every mountain will be leveled, and a straight way will be made to heaven so that all flesh will see the salvation of God.
Our advent waiting is a full intent directed waiting. Just as I look for dad up the street to make that turn around the [corner after work], so too we are looking to the east. [Nice analogy. I would add that the Lord is looking for us to look for Him. Think of the parable of the prodigal son. The father saw his his fallen son “from afar”. That means he was looking for him. Then the father went to meet him. The prodigal, looking towards his true home, saw his father from afar, coming to him. Imagine how the prodigal son strained his eyes for that first glimpse of home. So too… we need ad orientem worship.]
We have to be people who concretely, physically, look to the east. Now clearly, that doesn’t mean nobody can go to work or school tomorrow, because we’re going go spend the day looking toward the east. Our great opportunity to look east is here at the liturgy.
Pope Benedict says over and over again that to look toward the east means to turn toward the Lord. And that’s why it’s so important to have the crucifix front and center, both for the priest and for the people. [As I have explained in various PODCAzTs and posts here, Benedict intends the so-called “Benedictine” arrangement of the altar as a transitional arrangement on the way back to ad orientem worship.]
Because during Mass, I’m supposed to be looking toward the east, toward heaven. I’m not supposed to be trying to entertain you, or hold your attention in some way. I’m supposed to be looking toward the east. So it’s good that the crucifix is right there, so that I can’t see the people clearly, nor can they see me clearly. They’re not looking at me, the priest. They’re looking at Jesus Christ, the high priest, toward the east. [In this case, the Crucifix. So, let’s do it right?]
The crucifix on the altar, a big one, is not an obstruction. It’s there to help us live the very basics of our faith, including advent, which means looking toward the east, which is turning toward the Lord. And when we look at the crucifix, you from your side, I from my side, we’re all turned toward the Lord. [How much better, easier, clearer, to make this true ad orientem worship?]
And I’m sure that the day will come when we will turn toward the Lord together, [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] in even a more full way when we all face east, when we all turn toward the Lord in the same direction. And when we do that, that’s not the priest turning his back on the people, [OORAH] it’s the priest directing the people to look toward the east, to obey the prophetic word, to believe how concrete, real, physical and visible Jesus Christ was and is. How concrete, real, physical and visible is the last coming, from the east.
The east matters. It matters a lot. That’s why the creator gave us the sunrise from the east to remind us that from there, comes the light, who is Christ. [Sol invictus… Christus Victor… how appropriate to read this on St. Lucy’s Day!]
As we behold the flesh and blood of Christ, in the sacramental sign of the Eucharist, we are turned toward the east, as Jesus comes to use here in mystery, to remind ourselves that our whole life is an eager, prayerful waiting for him to come in majesty, waiting for him to come from the east, turning toward the Lord.
That, folks, is why Madison has 35 seminarians, to whom he said they should know the Extraordinary Form before he ordains them.
Please participate in the Spiritual Bouquet.
ASIDE TO PRIESTS: He is joining us for our summer priests meeting in the third week of July.