Wednesday, November 22, 2017


I just hope the Holy Father understands the implications of His Holiness' teachings, like chants at Mass that aren't inspirational in the same way that secular music is (which is what has happened to music at Mass and what qualifies it as being good). It also has implications for ad orientem which makes the Mass less of a show and more like prayer.

Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass facing the congregation in an ad orientem way. He is solemn, serious and never ad libs or God forbid, changes any words of the Mass that are given to us in any version of the vernacular Roman Missals.

In other words, His Holiness is humble before the texts of the Mass in whatever vernacular. So in English Masses, which have been gloriously revised, His Holiness prays "and for many..." and in Italian he prays "for all" until it is changed, God willing. Of course in Latin he prays "pro-multis."

But here is what the Pope taught this morning on the anniversary of the assasination of President Kennedy which I remember as though it was yesterday. I was in the 5th grade at the time, my commments embedded in red:

Pubblicato il 22/11/2017
Ultima modifica il 22/11/2017 alle ore 11:52

Mass "is to redo Calvary, it is not a show": (Holy Sacrifice, not just convivial meal!)at the general audience in St. Peter's Square the Pope continued a cycle of catechesis dedicated to the rediscovery of Mass and the Eucharist, answering the question, "What is Mass essentially?" Francis, who before going to St. Peter's Square received an official representative of Saudi Arabia, invited the faithful to imagine themselves present at the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus, "Would we allow ourselves to chat and take photographs, to make out a little show? (Mass demands reverence, before, during and after!)

The Mass, said Jorge Maria Bergoglio, "is the memorial of Christ's Passover Mystery. It allows us to join his victory over sin and death, and gives full meaning to our life. For this reason, in order to understand the value of Mass, we must first of all understand the biblical meaning of "memorial". It is not only a reminder of the events of the past, but it makes them present and current in a certain way. This is precisely how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated; the events of the Exodus are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them". Jesus Christ, with his passion, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven, brought Easter to completion. And the Mass is the memorial of his Passover, of his "exodus", which he accomplished for us, so that we may get out of slavery and reach the promised land of eternal life. It is not just a remembrance, no, it is more: it is doing what happened twenty centuries ago in the present ". (This theology is the best theology I was taught in the 1970's seminary and which I appreciated at the time and continue to do so. I'm glad for this part of our 1970's pope's theology, but the rest, not so much!)

And "every celebration of the Eucharist - he continued in reference to a concept reiterated by the Second Vatican Council - is a ray of that unsetting sun that is Jesus Christ risen. Participating in Mass, especially on Sundays, means entering the victory of the Risen One, being illuminated by his light, heated by his warmth". In his "transition from death to life, from time to eternity", Jesus "drags us along with him to make Easter. During Mass, Easter is made. During mass we are with Jesus, dead and risen, and he drags us forward in eternal life ". His blood "frees us from death and fear of death. He frees us not only from the domination of physical death, but from spiritual death which is evil, is sin, which takes us every time we fall victims of our or others' sin. And so our life is polluted, we lose beauty, we lose meaning, we lose touch. Christ instead gives us back life ".

Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of his love - said the Argentine Pontiff - are we really free to give ourselves without fear. And this is Mass: entering this passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And when we go to Mass it is like going to Calvary, just imagine: going to the crucifixion scene, at that moment we would realize that that man there is Jesus: would we allow ourselves to chat and take pictures? To make out a little show? No, because it is Jesus, we would certainly be in silence, in tears, and in the joy of being saved. When we enter the Church to celebrate Mass, we shall think of this: I’m entering the Calvary, where Jesus gives his life for me: and thus, the show, the comments, the chatter that distracts us from this beautiful thing that is Mass, disappear. The triumph of Jesus. I think it is now clearer how Easter becomes present and active every time we celebrate Mass, that is, the meaning of the "memorial". Participation in the Eucharist makes us enter the Paschal Mystery of Christ, giving us to pass with him from death to life. That is Calvary: Mass is redoing Calvary, it is not a show". (This last paragraph is so important. But why is it that this needs to be taught afresh? Because the implementation of the revised Roman MIssal screwed it all up. Music with guitars, tambourines, drums, worship and praise Protestant music and Protestant music with Protestant sentimentality and theology have caused most Catholics to fail to understand that they are with the crucified Lord made present in a timeless way at Mass, they are at the foot of the Cross. There should be somber reflection about our part that contributed to the Lord's suffering in this Great Sacrifice, not glib joy in the secular sense. Of course there is the resurrection, ascension and descent of the Holy Spirit, but that joy is contditioned by the Sacrifice that initiates it. Gregorian Chant, or any form of actual chant from the east or west is better than the faux sentimentalism, so-called devotion and spirituality of much of the music that is imposed upon the Masss today. I hope the HOly Father knows this and will offer a "Magnum Principium" on music bringing us back to sanity!) 

1 comment:

TJM said...

well even a stopped clock is right twice a day!