Saturday, May 28, 2016
THE VIEW FROM THE PRIEST: EF/OF; AD ORIENTEM/THE OTHER WAY
I see the Divine Worship, the Missal as the template for the reform of the OF Mass which needs some help along the lines of this new Missal approved by Pope Francis.
I love the Latin especially when all in attendance love it or at least appreciate it.
I love the vernacular because of the issues of comprehension and that the vernacular is the language I use when I pray my personal prayers and devotions. It facilitates my participation in the graces that God offers during Mass.
When I celebrate the EF Mass, I feel connected to my past and the Church's long and wonderful history of salvation.
I understand most of the revisions of this Mass as experienced today in the OF Mass and I am in complete agreement with the new and glorious revised English translation of the Mass which recovers the spirituality of the Mass as it was revised in Latin after Vatican II.
I prefer the OF Mass to be celebrated ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist as Cardinal Robert Sarah, Pope Francis' pick for the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has more than strongly encouraged in the past and quite recently. At St. Joseph Church, we celebrate Mass this way each Sunday at our 12:10 PM Mass and use the full length of the altar railing to distribute Holy Communion to kneeling communicants. These two reforms of the OF Mass would go a long way in recovering a sense of the sacred and reverence that we have lost in the last 50 years of useless experimentation.
From my perspective as a priest, I am less distracted in prayer by what is going on in the congregation when I am praying the Mass with the congregation. I cannot tell you how many times in my 36 years as priest that as I am praying the Eucharistic Prayer and even during the words of consecration, I see people getting up, going to the restroom or leaving for whatever reason or returning to their pew.
When I pray ad orientem all these distractions are removed from me and any hostility I have towards those who are clueless about Mass etiquette and reverence!
I prefer Vatican II's theological underpinnings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As with the EF Mass it is both Sacrifice and Eucharistic banquet. But our Lord is present to us throughout the Mass in other ways. He is present in the clergy and laity who gather for Mass. He is present in His Word especially the Gospel which contains His Words. He is present in the person of the priest who acts in Persona Christi and Head of the Church. Finally He is present in a specific and transubstantial way in the Sacred Species of Mass. His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. His one Sacrifice, now a part of eternity, is completely present in an unbloody way, a glorified way. And the Banquet of the Eucharist is a sign that we are in full communion with the Church on earth (Militant); the Church in Purgatory (Suffering) and the Church in Heaven (Triumphant).
It doesn't get any better than this in the various forms of the Mass in the West and the East!