exquisiteness in liturgy
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, bodily rose from the dead and walked among His people. Praise be to God. Amen!
This morning I attended the Solemn Latin (OF) Mass at the Oxford Oratory. This is the most joyous day of the year and it was a beautiful Spring day.The Oratorians are young men who take the liturgy seriously. The sanctuary was fittingly adorned and the ministers wore gold vestments. The Gospel was sung (in English) and in place of the sung Credo we had the renewal of baptismal promises (very Novus Ordo!) followed by the Vidi Aquam.The organ was augmented with strings, trumpets and timpani and the Mass setting was Mozart's 'Coronation' Mass with choir and soloists, all amateur I believe. At the recessional they did Handel's 'Hallelujah chorus' and the organist finished with Widor's 'Toccata'.It was all very exuberant, and no doubt Pius X would be spinning in his grave. The congregation reacted with spontaneous applause - by this point the Mass was over and the clergy back in the sacristy.Now, a question. The Mass I shall be singing at next week will also be in Latin and ad orientem, but will be entirely in chant without even organ accompaniment. The exuberance is there, but it is far more subtle. Do I rate this style of Mass above this morning's? Actually, no. So why do I have such a visceral hatred for exuberant happy-clappy 'liturgies' with P&W music?
Missa Cantata was celebrated here with typical Roman liturgical sobriety. We had solemn liturgies for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I suppose the vigil was a Solemn Mass, but with a 17 month old in tow, a 4 hour liturgy starting at 10:30 pm was out of the question for our family!For Low Sunday, we'll have Bishop Fellay in for Confirmations and, presumably, Pontifical High Mass. Gene will be happy to know our priest mentioned the "historical event" of the Resurrection multiple times during his sermon today. Happy Easter, everyone!
Christ is Risen! He is indeed Risen.Just as Christ came forth from His mother in the darkness of a cave on that Glorious and Holy morn, so to He came forth from the the darkness of the tomb at His Resurrection, the Eternal Sun rising in splendor on that resplendent morn in the New Day of Salvation. And so Christ came forth- the Divine Light, in triumph over the darkness of sin and death. He came forth, just as at the beginning Creation came forth, to fill the void of darkness. The light of created things brought illumination to dispel the darkness that was there. "All things came to be through Him and without Him nothing came to be. What came through Him was life and this life was the light of the human race. The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it" Just as at the beginning, the physical matter of Creation expanded and brought light to the darkness, so also Christ, in the form of His teachings and disciples, would expand from the darkness of the tomb to fill the earth with His Divine Light and Mercy.God created the earth in six days and having created man, rested on the seventh. Now God knowing His Divine plan, saw present before His Divine Majesty the Eighth day in which the light of the Eternal Sun would rise in splendor on that Glorious morn of the New Day of Salvation. Christ, the Son of God, would come forth as the Divine Light in triumph over the darkness of sin and death, coming forth from the darkness of the tomb.The Son of God came into our existence, the Light of the New Day of Salvation, in order to bring man out of the darkness of the Night of Sin. Our God is Love, and by His Divine Mercy and Holy Will, His love is made manifest. What is mercy but love in action?. Merciful is our God, whose death slew death, so that those faithful to Him could be glorified into Eternal life.
At our parish we were blessed this year with the celebration of the full Sacred Triduum–Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday–in the traditional Latin rite, for the first time in a half century or so. Including on Holy Thursday the procession with two thurifers incensing the Blessed Sacrament (under an ombrellino) to a side altar of reposition, the Passion of St. John chanted by three black-vested priests in the solemn liturgy of Good Friday. For the Veneration of the Cross before the Mass of the Presanctified--an actual sacrifice, with offertory, elevation of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration, consummated by fraction and reception by the celebrant—the people knelt at the altar rail as the celebrant flanked by deacon and subdeacon moved the Cross from one person to the next. In the Easter Vigil all twelve traditional Old Testament prophecies--of which only four are still mandated in the 1962 missal--were chanted, as they were for many centuries before the beginning of the dilution of the Church’s sacred rites. The setting for our Easter Sunday Mass today was Joseph Haydn’s Missa Brevis No. 7 in B-flat, with organ and trumpet in lieu of full orchestra. With the Sanctus finished just before the Consecration, the triumphant Benedictus starting just after the appearance of the Body and Blood on the altar was particularly striking. The sermon mentioned (summarizing crudely a rich and luminous commentary) that only because of the Resurrection is concern with the Four Last Things (death and judgement, heaven and hell) open to us, and that the Resurrection unites the Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Church Militant on Earth, and the Church Penitent in Purgatory in the One Body of Christ. The number in line far exceeded the number who could be heard before Mass, so one priest stayed in the confessional until almost the end, leaving only the celebrant to distribute Holy Communion, which therefore took quite a long time because . . . yes, apparently there is such a thing as “Easter trads”, too.
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