Tuesday, August 4, 2015
HOLY MYSTICISM BATMAN!
We can say the same thing about those who have "charismatic" experiences. It isn't intellectual but emotional, an experience of exuberance. Those seeking this kind of emotional satisfaction in prayer or worship have created a worldwide movement in the Catholic Church.
Let's speak about the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church which is really Catholic syncretism with Protestant Pentecostalism. Why did it occur in the Catholic Church and just who primarily were attracted to it?
I have no scientific studies to support my opinion, just common sense. The Charismatic Movement began around 1968 I believe, just three years after Church officials, like home decorators, started redecorating the Mass and our church buildings. And stripped from our Mass and our churches were the very things that Holy Mother Church had given to the clergy and laity to have experiences of contemplation and mysticism as opposed to crass emotionalism. But it satisfied those who need emotional experiences to strengthen their faith. The mystical experience of euphoria in the pre-Vatican II normative Mass, now the extraordinary normative Mass, was sober but satisfying nonetheless!
When that was removed by the redecorators, Catholics, both clergy and laity sought it elsewhere and with the novel allowance of ecumenism with Protestantism, they were converted to Protestant ideologies and spiritualities and not those closest to the Catholic Church, of the historic Reformation, but rather Protestant much further away from that reality. Catholics were converted to Pentecostalism and its unbridled, drunken spiritualities that allowed for narcissistic displays of holiness, like Pharisees with long tassels. In other words, there was nothing sober about this form of mysticism, but in reality a superficial emotionalism, satisfying nonetheless.
Who were the first Catholics to join the neo-Protestant Charismatic movement with its Biblical fundamentalism? Was it the progressives dismantling the historic worship of the Church and its beauty along with our church buildings? No! It was previously pre-Vatican II pious Catholics who loved the EF Mass's mysticism who were converted to Protestant Pentecostalism with a veneer of Catholicism and still untied to Rome. They went from Catholic Mysticism of sobriety to Protestant drunkenness in the spirit.
Would the neo-Protestant Pentecostal movement in the Catholic Church have happened in the Church if Vatican II had not made such sweeping changes and overnight? I doubt it. In heaven we'll have to check out parallel time to find out for sure!
But this would be wishful thinking on my part as to how mysticism that is sober and thus Catholic could be recovered in our Ordinary Form normative Mass. I'm not doing this since I have no authority, so it is just a very modest proposal and no worse than the horrible abuses of the Mass in the Ordinary Form so many experience at the hands of progressive priests each Sunday:
I'm not convinced that the Ordinary Form couldn't capture the mysticism of the EF Mass but there would have to be some rubrical changes.
This is just my opinion, but these are the issues that cause the Ordinary Form of the Mass to become to much like a disjointed experience.
1. The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as well as the Introductory and Concluding Rites are disjointed from one another. We have the procession, Introductory Rite (often co-opted by unnecessary banal greetings and discussions. Then everyone sits down after the Gloria and Collect. Someone comes up from the congregation and reads the readings, could be two people doing one each and a third chanting or singing the Responsorial Psalm. Then the priest or deacon reads the Gospel. It is done at a separate "table" the ambo, thus in reality there are two altars being used at the same Mass!
2. The propers are eliminated for metrical hymns. I think if the Propers were chanted even in a Gregorian type English it would help, but very few parishes chant the propers even if there is a processional hymn.
3. There needs to be more filled silences and a quiet Canon (no matter which Eucharistic Prayer is selected).
So this is what I think could work well in an Ordinary Form Mass that could capture the mysticism of the EF Sung Mass:
1. Processional hymn, followed by the chanting of the Proper Introit as the priest arrives at the foot of the altar. Then the priest begins with the Sign of the Cross, greeting and Penitential Act preferably the Confiteor (first choice) or the second choice which no one uses except my parish). After the absolution, the priest ascends the steps to the altar as the three fold EF style Kyrie is chanted. He incenses the altar. The Gloria is chanted in whatever language as the priest stands at the center of the altar and then he goes to the epistle side for the Collect, vernacular or Latin.
2. Then from the altar, the trained, commissioned by the bishop officially installed lector chants the first reading at the Epistle side of the altar, ad orientem or pro-popolum, the schola or choir chants the Gradual or Responsorial Psalm (Gradual is still permitted in the OF Mass!) and and the Epistle is chanted by the official lector.
3. Then the priest moves to the center of the altar, the missal is transferred to the Gospel side and the priest chants the Gospel or the deacon would do it as in an EF Solemn Sung Mass. The readings are in the vernacular.
Then after the homily the priest goes to the middle of the altar for the chanting of the Credo and the Intercessions (briefly chanted by a cantor as the priest remains at the altar).
Then the priest begins the Offertory as it is in the Ordinary Form.
4. The Prayer over the Offerings is chanted aloud as is the Preface. However, the Eucharistic Prayer (any of them) are prayed silently as in the EF with the Roman Canon. Of course I think the priest should indicate which Eucharistic Prayer he is using if the congregation wishes to follow it in their missal. I think this would recover the mysticism that many experience with the silent canon in the EF.
5. The rest of the Mass continues as in the Ordinary Form and all kneel at the railing for Holy communion. The ablutions are carried out as in the EF and the Mass is completed at the altar.
Celebrating everything at the altar as in the EF and using the Gospel and Epistles sides as in the EF would truly make the altar central! It has competition now, not from additional side altars or side altar chapels, but from the celebrant's chair and the ambo which make for three "altars" at every Ordinary Form Mass!
I doubt that many EF devotees would notice the difference except for vernacular. The mysticism would be there. Of course we need Gregorian chant or polyphony for the parts of the Mass, not contemporary melodies.