Friday, June 21, 2013
THE QUIET CANON AND THE BOISTEROUS CANON
In the previous post I spoke of differing theologies in the doctrine of the Mass. This doesn't mean the doctrine is different but the expression of the doctrine through theologies that are different was the point.
For example we all know that many more prayers of the EF Mass are spoken in a low or quiet voice. Most startlingly for those who have only attended an OF Mass is to discover that the Roman Canon, is prayed in a low voice except for a few words here and there. In fact, I had forgotten from my childhood that the canon was mostly quiet and was discomforted by it when I celebrated as a priest the EF Mass my first several times.
Herein is a major shift in the theology of how the canon is expressed without changing it doctrine or dogma.
In the EF, the quiet canon leads to a spirituality of seeing this part of the Mass as entering into the "Holy of Holies." Added to that the gestures of the priests, the ad orientem position, the numerous bows and genuflections all lead those who follow it into a sense of the sacred, the sense of mystery and that we have left "ordinary" time for "extraordinary eternity."
What is happening at the altar is the same as at the OF Mass, the Holy Spirit is called down to change bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ and which the Most Holy Sacrifice of Cavalry is renewed, remembered, brought forward, made present in an unbloody way. God the Father accepts this Sacrifice and returns Jesus His Most Beloved Son to Us, Glorified and Risen and under the species of Bread and Wine for the Eucharistic Banquet, where those who worthily receive our Precious Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are made a part of Him through His Church, His Bride, of which He is the Head and Bridegroom. We are strengthen in our Initiation into the Church by Christ through His sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. The Sacrificial Meal that occurs after the Holy Sacrifice (as in the Jewish temple of sacrifice) is meant to seal our relationship to the Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.
In the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer and there are many of these, not just one, but all accomplish the same purpose, is prayed aloud. This enables the laity to participate without having to follow along in a missal. They can see and hear the actions of the priest and unite their hearts and minds to the priestly actions visually and audibly. In a sense the Eucharistic Prayer becomes not only a prayer to God, but a proclamation of Prayer to God for all to hear and enter into.
Words rather that bodily gestures communicate the essence of the Mystery being celebrated, but the end result is the same as described above for both forms of the Mass. The spirituality and the theology are different, the experience is different in terms of "feeling" but the doctrine and dogma are the same, the Catholic faith is the same. This would also be true about the Eastern Rite liturgies, which have their own ethos, spirituality and theology to convey the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.