Thursday, March 24, 2016

THE EASTER TRIDUUM!

None of the Liturgies of the Church celebrate a reenactment of the history of our salvation. While the "faith-anchoring" events of our liturgies are historical, they cannot be repeated or "reenacted." That is why the Church's long tradition insists that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of the Church's liturgical/sacramental celebrations. What the Paschal Triduum celebrates is mystery, not history: anamnesis, not mimesis. The Liturgies of these days do not "take us back" to the upper room or the path to Calvary. Their ultimate purpose is not to retrace or relive the last hours of Jesus' life--nor to catch sight of Him emerging from the tomb at Easter's dawning. They celebrate not what once happened to Jesus but what is now happening among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the Spirit of holiness. They celebrate God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace.  ("The Three Days of Pascha" by Nathan Mitchell)

My comment: The above description of the Easter Triduum and all the Sacraments of the Church is true but it is also too horizontal. All liturgies of the Church are horizontal in the sense that we join as Church, clergy and laity together, Jesus Christ our High Priest, but now Crucified and Risen in His Glorious Risen Body of which we have been made a part by Christ through Holy Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.

It is He, the Head of the Church that we celebrate in the present, the eternal presence that transcends time and place. So the entire Church (Triumphant, Militant and Suffering) in a horizontal way is completely united to Christ the Crucified, Risen and Glorified High Priest, the One Who is, the I AM of eternity.

The Sacramental Liturgies of the Church, especially the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass propels us forward in Faith and Good Works as we make our pilgrimage to heaven accompanied by our Crucified and Risen Lord who points the way to God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is here that the "vertical" breaks the closed circle of the "horizontal" and moves us outside of idolatry and self-referential narcissism to God's love and generosity to us poor miserable sinners who fail so often when we think we are the center and not God the Most Holy Trinity.

The above quote is not wrong, but it exalts the Church in a horizontal way. When we buy into this theology hook, line and sinker, what happens when the "we" of Church, the horizontal aspect, fails so miserably as "we" did with the sex abuse scandal where nothing of  God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace is self-evident in the horizontal Church? People leave and look for something else that will satisfy their deepest longings.

But we have it or had it when the focus is on the vertical otherness of Christ, completely holy and at the same time taking on all our miserable sins that cause so much suffering to others and ourselves and would have led us to the fires of hell if not for God's saving acts in human history that transcends our sins, idolatry and narcissism. When the vertical is the focus and we see ourselves as sinners in need of being saved from the fires of hell, even the worst scandals of the Church make sense. Without this belief, nothing makes sense especially:  God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace.

Our Easter Sunday 12:10 PM Mass will be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form High Mass:


EXTRAORDINARY FORM HIGH MASS FOR EASTER SUNDAY
The best way to actual participation in this Ancient Use Form of the Mass is not to try to follow the priest or choir verbatim but simply have a sense of what is being prayed or chanted. Most important for actual participation in the EF Mass is to experience and contemplate in our soul the mystical presence of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for us poor miserable sinners. In other words, this Mass is not meant to be an intellectual or cerebral pursuit but rather an affair of the mind, heart and soul.
(Please refer to the booklet for all the other English translations and directions)

PROCESSIONAL HYMN: Good Christians All Rejoice and Sing - #545 (Stand)

RITE OF SPRINKLING HOLY WATER: Vidi Aquum  

Schola: I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia: and all they to whom that water came were save, and they shall say, alleluia, alleluia (Priest sprinkles all with Easter Water)
P. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam. All: Et salutare tuum da nobis.
P. Domine, exaudi orationem neam. All: Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
P. Oremus: Hear us, O holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, and vouchsafe to send Thy holy angel from heaven, to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all that are assembled in this place: Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen (as the priest changes from cope to chasuble, all kneel for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, which are prayed quietly by the priest and ministers as the schola chants the Introit.)

INTROIT: Psalm 138 18, 5, 6 I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia; Thou hast laid Thy hand upon me, alleluia; Thy knowledge is become wonderful, alleluia, alleluia. -- (Ps. 138. 1, 2). Lord, Thou hast searched Me and known Me; Thou knowest my sitting down and My rising up. V.: Glory to the Father . .  -- I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia . . .

KYRIE #105, Hymnal

GLORIA (Stand) #106 Hymnal

COLLECT - O God, who, on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son, hast conquered death, and thrown open to us the gate of everlasting life, give effect by thine aid to our desires, which Thou dost anticipate and inspire. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

EPISTLE I Corinthians 5: 7, 8 (Sit)

GRADUAL Psalm 117: 24,1 This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it. V.: Give praise unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (I Cor. 5. 7). Christ our Pasch is immolated.

SEQUENCE Christians! to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises. The Lamb the sheep redeemeth: Christ, who only is sinless, reconcileth sinners to the Father. Death and life contended in that conflict stupendous: the Prince of Life, who died, deathless reigneth. Speak, Mary, declaring what thou sawest wayfaring. "The tomb of Christ who now liveth: and likewise the glory of the Risen.
Bright Angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting. Yea, Christ my hope is arisen: to Galilee He goeth before you." We know that Christ is risen, henceforth ever living: Have mercy, Victor King, pardon giving. Amen. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Mark 16:1-7 (Stand)

Homily (Sit)

CREDO: #213: Hymnal (Stand)

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Sit) Psalm 75: 9-10: The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment, alleluia.

Offertory Anthem: Ave Verum (schola)

P: ORATE FRATRES (Stand)

All: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de minibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utiltatem quoque nostrum, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.

SECRET - We beseech Thee, O Lord, accept the prayers of Thy people together with the Sacrifice they offer, that what has been begun by the Paschal Mysteries, by Thy working may profit us unto eternal healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Easter) -It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, at all times to praise Thee, O Lord, but more gloriously especially this day when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the Lamb Who hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath destroyed our death: and by rising again hath restored us to life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

SANCTUS: #119, Hymnal (Please kneel at the beginning of the Sanctus.)

PATER NOSTER (Stand) Page 86, hymnal

AGNUS DEI: #120, Hymnal (Kneel)

Communion Hymn: #709, Panis Angelicus (In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, Holy Communion is received kneeling at the altar railing and only on the tongue.)

COMMUNION ANTIPHON: I Corinthians 5: 7, 8: Christ our Pasch is immolated, alleluia: therefore let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

POST COMMUNION PRAYER (Stand) - Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, that, by Thy loving kindness, Thou mayest make to be of one mind those whom Thou hast satisfied with the Paschal Sacraments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

P. Ite Missa Est, Alleluia, Alleluia Alleluia

All: Deo Gratias, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

SOLEMN BLESSING (Kneel)

LAST GOSPEL (Stand)

RECESSIONAL HYMN: Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Hymnal #589

4 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mitchell says: "That is why the Church's long tradition insists that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of the Church's liturgical/sacramental celebrations."

This is hardly a "horizontal" description of the Paschal Mystery.

In you own comment, you say: "It is He, the Head of the Church that we celebrate in the present, the eternal presence that transcends time and place." Isn't this what Mitchell is saying - "...what happened once in history passes over into the Church's liturgical/sacramental celebrations."?

Mitchell says, "They celebrate not what once happened to Jesus but what is now happening among us as a people called to conversion, gathered in faith, and gifted with the Spirit of holiness."

You mock his comment, saying, "When we buy into this theology hook, line and sinker, what happens when the "we" of Church, the horizontal aspect, fails so miserably as "we" did with the sex abuse scandal where nothing of God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace is self-evident in the horizontal Church?" But all you've done is describe the reality of sin and the need for on-going conversion.

Mitchell isn't wrong nor is he overemphasizing the horizontal when he speaks of being "called to conversion" from the very sins you mention in order to make his comment look bad. He's stating the goal of the Paschal Mystery, which is a very vertical understanding. Christ's Paschal Mystery can transform us.

There is nothing in Mitchell's quote that says or suggests that we should not, "...see ourselves as sinners in need of being saved from the fires of hell,...". In fact, he states, "They [We] celebrate God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace."

God's "taking possession of our hearts" is conversion from sin.

God's recreation of a broken humanity is a conversion from sin.

Holding up the image of, "...a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace" is a challenge to ACT once we have accepted and been changed by God's grace.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I do not denigrate the horizontal but exalt it when it ceases to be a self-enclosed, congratulatory, self-referential circle. These two paragraphs of mine must be taken together to understand the point I am making about taking a hammer to the self-enclosed, congratulatory, self-referential circle that so many parishes have become especially in their so-called reformed Mass:

The Sacramental Liturgies of the Church, especially the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass propels us forward in Faith and Good Works as we make our pilgrimage to heaven accompanied by our Crucified and Risen Lord who points the way to God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is here that the "vertical" breaks the closed circle of the "horizontal" and moves us outside of idolatry and self-referential narcissism to God's love and generosity to us poor miserable sinners who fail so often when we think we are the center and not God the Most Holy Trinity.

The above quote is not wrong, but it exalts the Church in a horizontal way. When we buy into this theology hook, line and sinker, what happens when the "we" of Church, the horizontal aspect, fails so miserably as "we" did with the sex abuse scandal where nothing of God's taking possession of our hearts at their deepest core, recreating us a new human community broken like bread for the world's life--a community rich in compassion steadfast in hope and fearless in the search for justice and peace is self-evident in the horizontal Church? People leave and look for something else that will satisfy their deepest longings.

Fr.Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I don't think parishes have "closed circles" as you and others describe them.

As I have stated previously, calling a circle "closed" is like calling a square "four-sided." It is of the nature of a circle to be closed and it is of the nature of a square to be four-sided. No big deal. (An "open" circle is an arc, but I digress...)

I don't know any parish whose worship you would describe as belonging to the "closed circle" variety that excludes, or even thinks to exclude, Christ and the need for salvation that comes only from Him and through the Church.

If, at the center of the circle, Christ is found, praised, worshipped, and adored, then the notion that "circular" worship excludes Him is shown to be a straw man.

The "closed circle" argument sounds convincing, but only until one starts to think about it beyond polemics and the wielding of hammers. And we know about people with hammers: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." (If a person is familiar with a certain, single subject, or has with them a certain, single instrument, they may have a confirmation bias to believe that it is the answer to/involved in everything.)

But, we know that there's more than one way to skin a cat...

John Nolan said...

You missed out the Alleluia 'Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus', one of the greatest pieces in the Gregorian repertory and one of the greatest pieces of music ever written - although its first millennium composer will be for ever anonymous.