Wednesday, February 26, 2014
IS IT TIME TO REVISIT THE QUIET DEVOTIONAL PRAYERS OF THE PRIEST AND HIS IMMEDIATE MINISTERS?
For some reason, the designers of the new Mass, went backwards to the early forms of the Mass in the time of the Fathers (a radical form of pre-any ecumenical council). Of course when we go backwards to the early Church, especially when the Church was outlawed and persecuted, we will find a stripped down, underdeveloped form of the Mass. We will find only the nuts and bolts and no organic development that came about both in the east and the west and in differing cultural contexts but on a similar trajectory in terms of adding the ceremonies of the court (state) and making the liturgy more regal, public and distinctive when the Church was freed to worship in the public square.
It was in this period that prayers were added, especially those private, quiet, beautiful devotional prayers of the priest and also books developed to standardize the Mass in various regions of the Church. The Council of Trent ordered the most widespread standardization of the Mass into the Latin Rite Missal that the pope would issue subsequent to that great reforming Council.
This Mass of Trent, that is a culmination of various traditions in the Latin Rite kept a certain healthy "clericalism" in terms of the piety, spirituality, devotion and art of personal prayer of the priest in the Roman Missal itself.
These quiet, clerical prayers, not intended to diminish the laity's dignity, included the following:
The Preparatory devotional prayers of the priest and his immediate ministers at the Foot of the Altar as private devotion prayed publicly prior to approaching the altar. As this was happening, the norm of the sung Mass had the schola chanting the Entrance Chant, or Introit, which was the actual beginning of the Mass (not the priests private, devotional prayers that he recited with his immediate ministers during this time).
Then the priest enters approaches the altar, praying quietly, "take away from us our iniquities...that with pure minds we may worthily enter into the Holy of Holies...
Then kissing the altar, the priest says quietly "We beseech thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Saints, whose relics are here, and of all the Saints, that Thou wilt deign to pardon me all my sins. Amen." This private, devotional prayer is said silently as the Introit is chanted, it being the actual beginning of the Mass.
So the legitimate question is, why in the name of God and all that is holy, given the position of leadership and sanctity required for the priest for his unique and necessary presence for the celebration of Mass, were these private prayers said quietly but nonetheless publicly opposed by the masters of Consilium? Why do the laity either need to hear and participate in them, or if Consilium determined these devotional prayers of the priest are not a technical part of the Mass for the laity, then it would be necessary to eliminate these quiet devotional prayers of the priest and his immediate ministers since it was not advisable for the laity to pray these too? What was the point of that other than the unwholesome false egalitarianism that entered the spirit of those redesigning the Mass and going backwards in time to justify their elimination of these unique, devotional prayers of the priest?
Fortunately no other quiet and devotional prayers are removed (accept the psalm recited quietly if the priest incensed the altar both at the beginning and offertory) until the revision of the Offertory Prayers which now is known as the Preparation of the Offerings.
The Offertory of the Mass was completely redesigned by going backwards to the time of the Fathers to a paring down of this part of the Mass. Consilium seem to think that the Offertory Prayers acted as a sort of duplication of the actual offering that Christ does of Himself during the Canon.
Consilium either did not know or were completely oblivious (or knowingly misrepresented) that the priest, as a baptized human being and not in persona Christi, offers the bread and wine as bread and wine on behalf of himself and the lay baptized for it to become later in the Canon, not the offertory, "transubstantiated" meaning the Body and Blood of Christ (brought about not in the offertory which has the priest offering only bread and wine) but in the Canon where Christ, acting sacramentally in the ordained priest beginning with the Epiclesis and words of consecration changes the substance of the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. Then after the Consecration, the High Priest, Jesus Christ, acting in the person of the sacramental priest during the Anemesis, offers Himself as Priest and Victim, but in an unbloody way, in a re-presentation (memorial) of the actual one Sacrifice of our Lord at Calvary, perpetuated eternally in every Mass until the Lord returns at the end of time.
In other words there is a big difference in what is being offered in the Offertory of the Mass and Who is being offered in the Canon! There is also a huge difference in terms of who is do the offering in the Offertory and Who is offering Himself after the Consecration!
If one understands the difference between the sacramental priest offering ordinary bread and wine to God in order that His Son may then change it later in the Canon of the Mass into Himself, then there is no reason why the traditional Offertory Prayers could not be recovered since these were removed for the wrong reasons. In the Offertory with its traditional calling of the Holy Spirit to bless the bread and wine, not to become Christ, but to prepare these to become Christ, is completely reasonable to retain.
The biblical aspects of the 1962's Missal of the blessing of the water prayer terribly deformed in the revision with the blessing of the water eliminated altogether, should be returned.
The longer lavabo with its biblical imagery should also return. These are devotional in terms of being said quietly as are all of the Offertory Prayers, but that does not negate their importance in terms of retaining them or recovering these.
I think one can make a good case that the Prayer over the Offering (Secret) and the Canon are not devotional prayers of the priest and thus should be spoken in a raised voiced for all to hear.
The other quiet devotional prayers of the priest removed by Consilium for corrupt purposes are the quiet prayers of the priest following the Pater Noster which include:
"Panen caelestem...I will take the Bread of Heaven and will call upon the name of the Lord.
"Quid retribuam (what return shall I make) prior to the priest receiving from the chalice
the fuller "abultion" private prayers of the priest
Then following the Post Communion Prayer, these private prayers of the priest eliminated in the reform should be restored:
The Placeat Tibi, Sancta Trinitas (May the tribute of my homage...)
All of the above devotional prayers could be added in the Ordinary Form's missal retaining all the other prayers, prefaces, Eucharistic Prayers and new orations.