Wednesday, June 20, 2012

THE NEED TO SEE IS EXAGGERATED IN THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS AND PLACES TO MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE "ACCIDENTS "OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST RATHER THAN ON THE REAL PRESENCE OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST, JESUS CHRIST, CRUCIFIED, RISEN AND GLORIFIED, THE MEAL ASPECT GONE BIZERK!












Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of Solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. I'm also in favor of the elevations of the Host and Chalice at the consecration and the Per Ipsum as well as looking at the host and chalice at the Ecce Agnus Dei. But do we have to look at the elements of the Holy Eucharist throughout the Liturgy of the Eucharist? Is this the reason so many demand that the Mass be facing the people so people can see what is on the altar and see what the priest is doing? Is this to emphasize that the bread and wine are food for a meal like those we have on a dinning room table?

Liturgists in the post Vatican II era really wanted to emphasize the horizontal aspect of the Liturgy often to the neglect of the sacrificial aspect of the Mass which actually is intrinsic to the Ordinary Form of the Mass and precedes the meal aspect. But you wouldn't know that by the way liturgists have trained priests and congregations to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

In fact, the accidents of the Eucharist, the bread and wine become objects of adoration rather than our Lord who is hidden under the veil of the bread and wine, which in substance is no longer bread and wine, but the Glorified Body and Blood of our Risen Lord.

So liturgists and those seduced by their perspective want us to see the bread and wine on the altar throughout the Liturgy of the Eucharist and thus make the bread and wine more important that what these become, Jesus Christ who is food and drink for eternal life and made palatable under the accidents of bread and wine which remain for the senses of sight, feel and taste.

And Jesus as food has nothing to do with ordinary table meals we have, because the regular food we eat and wine we drink eventually become a part of us in the digestive process. But when we receive our Lord worthily in Holy Communion, He makes us a part of Him, not by digesting us but by strengthening us in the bond of Holy Baptism and Confirmation that makes us adopted sons and daughter of God through His Holy Church of which we are the body and Jesus Christ is the head. That doesn't sound like digestion to me at all!

So the ad orietem position for the Liturgy of the Eucharist takes this obsession away from the bread and wine on the altar and trying to see what the priest is doing the whole time, since there really isn't anything to see, the act of consecration is invisible after all. All we really need to see are the three elevations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the Canon of the Mass and when the priest turns to the congregation for the Ecce Agnus Dei, which means Behold the Lamb of God, not Behold the bread and wine!

Let's leave contemplating our Lord for a prolonged period of time to post Mass devotions before the tabernacle and in Solemn Exposition. And certainly let us never adore the bread and wine for what they are but rather we must adore who is invisible (veiled under the bread and wine) Jesus Christ! For to adore bread and wine for what they do for us is idolatry, but to adore Jesus Christ and see the symbol (accidents) of bread and wine as conveying what Jesus accomplishes for the repentant sinner, that's good and holy.

30 comments:

Pater Ignotus said...

Is not "hiding" the elements also an "obsession?"

And there most certainly is "something to see" - the elements which sacramentally are the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Christ is hidden no matter what, but adoration of who is hidden, not what hides Him is important.

Pater Ignotus said...

If seeing what hides Him is not important, Exposition is not important, since what hides Him is what we see.

If seeing the elements during Exposition is helpful, why not during Mass?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A devotion and a liturgical act differ but still the consecrated host is not presented in the monstrance or the tabernacle as food to be adored but the Lord who is hidden, veiled, invisible.

Carol H. said...

Ad orientum is good, we see and adore only after consecration.
Mass facing the people resembles something you'd see on FoodNetwork.

Templar said...

Comdemned to hell shall be the Blind, for they shall not be permitted to the show.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Every time I hear someone emphasizing the "meal" aspect of the Mass, I am reminded of an early Renaissance painting by someone of Giotto's contemporaries, I think. It is a tryptich, and it shows in the first panel a woman stealing the Host from the Tabernacle. The second panel shows her taking it home and popping it in the oven, blood pouriong from the host, while her family waits at table. The third panel shows the ground opening and Satan and his devils dragging her and her family to Hell. Quaint, but I like it...

Pater Ignotus said...

Every time I hear someone emphasizing the "meal" aspect of the Mass, I am reminded of the deep bas relief sculpture on the front of the old altar at St. Joseph Church, Macon. "The Last Supper"

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

Some people believe the 'spirit of V2' liturgists weren't merely trying to emphasize the horizontal aspects but to introduce consubstantiation into the Church. The horizontal changes are the same as those Luther, Calvin, and Cramer used for their liturgies.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Ignotus, So, they happened to be eating when Jesus instructed them to re-enact His Sacrifice and blessed His own Body and Blood for their redemption. Now, stop your whining and pass the black-eyed peas...

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Ahem, If I were going to exegete the "Last Supper" a bit, I might point out that the designation "Last" is significant, for Christ's act in that moment means that it can never be viewed as a "meal" again. By pre-figuring his death and consecrating His Body and Blood, He has forever lifted us out of mere horizontal communion with one another and raised us (yes, raised) to eternal Communion with Him and, through Him, with God the Father. To emphasize the meal aspect of this event is to mistake the form for the substance. In our day, given the particular political and theological issues with which we are dealing, it amounts to simple dissent...but, you know that, don't you Ignotus....

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Posted by Neil at Catholicsensibilities"

The liturgical reformers – Guardini included – had sought a master “form,” a Gestalt, behind the liturgy. They believed that it was a meal. These liturgists claimed that to speak of the Mass as a sacrifice referred to a hidden theological essence, but that the meal structure should determine its visible performance. To Joseph Ratzinger, the separation of theological content from liturgical structure was impossible, even schizophrenic. He claimed that the fundamental form of the Eucharist after the Apostolic Age (when, according to him, we can begin to speak about fundamental form) was not a meal, but Eucharistia, the prayer of thanksgiving. Joseph Ratzinger even suggested that, aside from discussions of 1 Corinthians 11, the patristic and medieval literature does not designate the Eucharist as a meal. Eamon Duffy thinks that this is overstated and points us to the Corpus Christi antiphon “O Sacrum Convivium” (which is quoted in Ecclesia de Eucharistia). But Joseph Ratzinger suggested that “the Eucharistic thesis is able to put the dogmatic and liturgical levels in touch with each other.”

In this Eucharistic thesis, Jesus’ words “this is my body, this is my blood, given for you” come from the Temple sacrifices and from the account of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. Thus, the Canon of the Mass is “the true sacrifice, the word of the Word: in it speaks the one who, as Word, is life.” The meal element is merely in the fact that these are also the words said before the sacred meal. Of course, it might also exist in the nourishment of the Eucharist, but the Eucharist to Joseph Ratzinger is always the “banquet of the reconciled.” It is not a recreation of Jesus’ table-fellowship with sinners. We can continue to separate the Eucharist from other “meal interpretations”: the Eucharist is not a continuation of the annual Passover meal, nor should it look primarily to the Agape of Corinth, described by Paul, as a predecessor.

Joseph Ratzinger even wrote:

The real mistake of those who attempt uncritically to deduce the Christian liturgy from the Last Supper of Jesus is certainly the basis of all Christian liturgy, but in itself it is not yet Christian.

In the thought of Joseph Ratzinger, as Duffy says, the Mass, to fulfill Israelite religion – the future Pope would later speak further of the Eucharist as the thanksgiving sacrifice, drawing on the toda in various Psalms – had to actually be freed “from the historical contingencies which surrounded its origins.” This requires, needless to say, a very reverential and continuous view of tradition.

Duffy then notes that Ratzinger’s rejection of the paradigm of a meal has rather dramatic consequences on his view of the liturgy. Joseph Ratzinger does not support any sort of individualism, but has disliked the new orientation of sanctuaries – the versus populum was only meant to conform to the “primordial model of the Last Supper” which Ratzinger has criticized. He likewise has disliked the kiss of peace and other institutions meant to cultivate the community spirit of a meal. These, to him, would seem like mere distractions from the one great action of the liturgy – Christ’s self-giving on the cross, in which we participate with silence, ideally facing the rising Sun together so that the Eucharist might open towards eternity in yearning for the Savior’s return.

I remain somewhat curious about Joseph Ratzinger’s belief that the Mass had to be freed from the historical contingencies which surrounded its origins, so that we cannot directly relate the Mass to Scriptural precedents. Is the Mass unique in this? Would we say this about anything else? Is there a history to this sort of claim? I wouldn’t know. We certainly do need to continue to reflect on the relationship between meal and sacrifice.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

From: POST-SYNODAL
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS
OF THE HOLY FATHER
BENEDICT XVI

In this sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom. Since only the truth can make us free (cf. Jn 8:32), Christ becomes for us the food of truth. With deep human insight, Saint Augustine clearly showed how we are moved spontaneously, and not by constraint, whenever we encounter something attractive and desirable. Asking himself what it is that can move us most deeply, the saintly Bishop went on to say: "What does our soul desire more passionately than truth?" (2) Each of us has an innate and irrepressible desire for ultimate and definitive truth. The Lord Jesus, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), speaks to our thirsting, pilgrim hearts, our hearts yearning for the source of life, our hearts longing for truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth in person, drawing the world to himself. "Jesus is the lodestar of human freedom: without him, freedom loses its focus, for without the knowledge of truth, freedom becomes debased, alienated and reduced to empty caprice. With him, freedom finds itself." (3) In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus shows us in particular the truth about the love which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth which challenges each of us and our whole being. For this reason, the Church, which finds in the Eucharist the very centre of her life, is constantly concerned to proclaim to all, opportune importune (cf. 2 Tim 4:2), that God is love.(4) Precisely because Christ has become for us the food of truth, the Church turns to every man and woman, inviting them freely to accept God's gift.

The eschatological banquet

31. Reflecting on this mystery, we can say that Jesus' coming responded to an expectation present in the people of Israel, in the whole of humanity and ultimately in creation itself. By his self-gift, he objectively inaugurated the eschatological age. Christ came to gather together the scattered People of God (cf. Jn 11:52) and clearly manifested his intention to gather together the community of the covenant, in order to bring to fulfilment the promises made by God to the fathers of old (cf. Jer 23:3; Lk 1:55, 70). In the calling of the Twelve, which is to be understood in relation to the twelve tribes of Israel, and in the command he gave them at the Last Supper, before his redemptive passion, to celebrate his memorial, Jesus showed that he wished to transfer to the entire community which he had founded the task of being, within history, the sign and instrument of the eschatological gathering that had its origin in him. Consequently, every eucharistic celebration sacramentally accomplishes the eschatological gathering of the People of God. For us, the eucharistic banquet is a real foretaste of the final banquet foretold by the prophets (cf. Is 25:6-9) and described in the New Testament as "the marriage-feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7-9), to be celebrated in the joy of the communion of saints (100).

Jesus is the Food of the Mass, not the accidents of the Bread and Wine.

Templar said...

I do believe that would be called a Clerical Smack Down LOL

Pater Ignotus said...

No, it's not a smackdown, but an evasion that does not address the question.

So, then, the reason a meal is the symbol carved on the front of the old altar at St. Joseph's is...?

They did not "happen" to be eating a meal, as if this were some sub-plot or errant theological musing.
God's plan isn't carried out by happenstance, in some Deistic (mis)understanding of the Scriptural tableau.

We participate in the sacrifice, Christ's self-giving on the cross, when we share in the Eucharistic banquet.

It is both Sacrifice and Meal.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It is both Sacrifice and Meal.

My post does not contest your last sentence PI, my post contest what kind of meal--It is the Lord we are receiving, who is the way, the truth and the life, but God gives us His Son "back" after His Sacrifice, first in the Resurrection, then in the Pentecost Event and now in the Eucharist, but in the Eucharist in a palatable way, under the "accidents" of bread and wine. The meal is Jesus though and a very different kind of meal, where what we eat and drink do not become a part of us, but we apart of God, apart of Jesus. Do you teach these nuances? Or is the emphasis so much on the bread and wine, even prior to its consecration and even on the bread and wine after the consecration, that people feel they are at an ordinary meal and consuming ordinary food?
The Last Supper Scene on St. Joseph's old altar is balanced by what is more important and is above it, the crucifixion scene, which in fact towers over it, with Jesus dead on the cross, Mary His mother, the other Mary and the Beloved Disciple standing at the foot of the altar--make no mistake about it, the Jesuits knew how to balance sacrifice and meal and they knew which was central and what memorialized it.

John Nolan said...

Those who are most enthusiastic about the NO Mass are surely right that its underlying assumptions are that a) everything is visible (hence versus populum) b) everything is audible (many priests say aloud the very few remaining prayers directed to be said inaudibly) and c) everything is immediately understandable (hence the vernacular, and some even insist that this should be a vernacular which can easily be comprehended by children, non-native speakers and the simple-minded).

Leaving aside the fact that we can only ever partly understand the mystery of the Mass, this reductionist approach to liturgy is far and away the worst aspect of the post-V2 reform, and has alienated far more people than it has attracted (look at the figures).

The trendy self-styled 'liturgists' who comment over at PTB probably reflect the aims of the reformers more accurately than do the ROTR-ers.

Pater Ignotus said...

Yes, it is both.

Carol H. said...

Rosalynn Moss is a Jew who became Protestant before she became Catholic. Why did she become Catholic? Her Knowledge of jwish sacrafice.

A Catholic asked her if it was enough for the animal to be killed in place of the penitant. Was that the end of it? That was when she recalled that THE SACRAFICE WASN'T COMPLETE UNTIL IT WAS EATEN.

The Mass is not a memorial of the Last Supper which instituted it. It is the completion of Christ's sacrafice for our sins, and personally accepting that one sacrafice as atonement for our sins. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI, that's what I've posted and with the nuances, please indicate your nuance and how it guides your celebration of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and the Banquet that begins with the Pater Noster (PN)(and only for those in a state of grace, completely forgiven and reconciled to God and His Holy Church--a fellowship of saints and therefore a foretaste of the heavenly banquet with all the saints, those redeemed, not the damned.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - My faculties (and yours) come from the same source. If you have doubts about my orthodoxy, contact Bishop Hartmayer. Please be kind enough to send a copy of the accusatory letter to me. (I know that, as with others here, you will not do this.)

Your presumption is itself an occasion of sin, for which you should seek reconciliation before you next dare to approach the altar of sacrifice and partake of the Eucharistic feast lest, as one of the "damned," you find yourself cast out, wailing and gnashing your teeth.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Nice try, but this smoke screen doesn't work, just asking you to elucidate good PI your understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Banquet aspect of it that begins with the Pater Noster (PN) and how the Banquet aspect is only for the "saved" meaning those free of unrepentant sin, either mortal or venial, but the sacrificial part is for everyone. Just give us your elucidation and no hysterical smoke screen created in incense pots held up by vestal virgins dancing around the topic.

Templar said...

2 - 0

Pater Ignotus said...

My vestal nuance can beat up your vestal nuance.... I'm not sure what you are asking here.

The Sacrifice and the Banquet are both essential to our understanding of the Eucharist. You have noted this is speaking of the Crucifix and Last Supper images that adorn the old altar at St. Joseph.

The mass is not "now sacrifice" and "later banquet." It is a unified whole, with elements of each throughout.

The Supper of the Lamb is going on in, with, and through the Sacrifice of the Cross. They are teleologically one.

Marc said...

Can the Mass be offered without involving the people in any sort of "meal" ritual?

Yes, it can. The priest consumes the Precious Body and Blood as the culmination of the Sacrifice and not a "meal".

There is a "meal" element at a community Mass, but it is secondary to the Sacrificial element. As a result, the long history of Catholic theology on the Mass has focused almost exclusively on the Sacrifice and not the meal.

The modern interpoloation of these ideas has caused huge problems. As others have pointed out, that interpolation was exactly what the Prot Revolutionaries were seeking to accomplish when they created their "liturgies" - liturgical ideas that were later plagarized when the reformers created the Novus Ordo Missae...

Carol H. said...

Sacrafice of the Cross is an interesting word choice. Often, the Cross is sacraficed in order to promote the Supper aspect of the Mass.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In post-Vatican II Eucharistic theology, the communion of the priest has completely been obscured by a theology that all eat and consume the meal (note that it isn't called the "Sacrificial Victim or Holocaust.")
The very clear theology of the Sacrifice of the Mass prior to the Council was that the priest consume the sacrifice first in order to complete the Sacrifice. This truth is still paramount to the Ordinary Form of the Mass but never taught because many feel that it denigrates the Laity's Communion. In fact, in some places trendy priests allow the laity to receive first and then the priest receives what is left over at the end of the laity's communion! This has happened and still does I think in some minority of places. On top of that a similar abuse but not entirely as bad which I was taught to do in the seminary and which we did the first five years of my ordination was to have the Eucharistic Ministers come up at the Sign of Peace. The priest would give each EMCH their host in the hand and then all, including the priest would receive together as though the EMCH's were concelebrants. Then they would approach the altar for their particular chalice and the priest and laity would drink at the same time and then each would go to their station. You can see the corrupt theology at work here that progressive liturgists were shoving down the throat of the Church collective. The ordained priest is only a leader and the priesthood of the laity is no different than that of the ordained. That is not the theology, doctrine or dogma of the Mass in either form or any recognized rite of the Catholic Church.

Carol H. said...

I feel deeply concerned for the souls of Priests who were taught error in Seminary and then spread those errors. Who is held accountable in the eyes of God? Is it those who taught in Seminary, or does God expect the Priest to learn the truth later and to choose the truth over falsehood?

Pray for Priests!

Templar said...

Carol, I remember an outstanding Homily on the subject of "who is accountable". In a nutshell, your time in Purgatory is predicated on the sins you have directly committed, and also the sins you have enabled. The theory goes that you can't leave Purgatory until all those whose sins you have enabled have also entered Purgatory. Makes for quite a tabe, especially if your ae in a teaching role and are teaching errors which lead to sins.

Interesting theory.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Both Christ and Paul are quite clear on the sin of leading others astray...not good!