Friday, January 23, 2015
A NEW EXTRAORDINARY FORM EXPERIENCE FOR ME! AND THANK THE ALTAR RAILING FOR IT
When I was a child, my recollection of the Mass of the Ages at Communion time was that the laity began to approach the altar railing and actually line up in the aisle at the priest's "Domine non sum dignus" and the priest's conclusion of the Sacrifice, its ratification if you will, when he consumed the Holocaust, the Body and Blood of Christ under the form of Bread and Wine.
Then the priest would turn to us for the Ecce Angus Dei and our "Domine non sum dignus" and the laity at the altar railing were already kneeling, but as soon as the priest turned to the congregation with the Host over the ciboruim for the Ecce Agnus Dei, everyone standing in the aisle dropped to thier knees for the "Dominie non sum dignus." This really impressed me as a child. It pointed out to me something very important, that in the presence of the King of the Universe, our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, we must fall to our knees! Yes, it made a huge impression on me and I can see photos in my mind about it from my childhood.
So I instructed our Tuesday EF crowd to do the same, come forward at the priest's "Domine non sum dignus" and be already at the altar railing, now that we have one!
I have to say that when I turned to the congregation with most of them kneeling at the altar railing (and for the first time as a priest-celebrant of the EF Mass) and saw them there kneeling, it was very dramatic in its look of reverence, the modeling of awe and reverence and was very moving for me personally.
I hate to renounce my 1970's theology of standing and coming to Holy Communion as if in some sort of army chow line, but we blew it when altar railings were removed and standing became the norm for Holy Communion. There is still time to repent and return to the Lord in his fashion.