Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Motu Proprio

I haven't written much commentary on the Motu Proprio concerning the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. I still remember the pre-Paul VI and Ray Repp days quite vividly and would like to see some of the ethos of that liturgy revived in the celebration of the ordinary form. On the other hand, the one celebration of the old form I've been to since the change left me cold. I guess I wasn't prepared for it, or something. I look forward to attending some celebrations of the extraordinary form in the near future and regret missing the pontifical Mass at St. Stan's in Milwaukee celebrated by Bishop Perry of Chicago (former priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee). We had illness in the family and our son who would have been singing in the schola was at his Order of the Arrow ordeal.

I had planned to write a comprehensive post about it, stating basically that what is missing in the current celebration of the ordinary form in most cases is a sense that we are mysteriously present at and participating in the sacrifice of Christ. We are with Mary at the foot of the Cross. We are in heaven at the right hand of the Father. I think the ordinary form can have that if celebrated properly. I think a couple of changes would help--new translation (in process), reorientation of the priest to face liturgical east, altar rail, some Latin and Greek (I've said all this before). Even without these changes, though, I am able to enter into the spirit of the liturgy quite well participating in the ordinary form.

I also would love to see restoration of some of the old biblical prayers, such as the one the priest says before reading the Gospel quoting Isaiah
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who didst cleanse the lips of the prophet Isaias with a burning coal; through Thy gracious mercy so purify me
that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (quoted here)
I also like the old lavabo prayer quoting from Psalm 26.

I will wash my hands among the innocent, and I will encompass Thine Altar, O Lord. That I may hear the voice of praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked, nor my life with men of blood. In whose hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts.

But as for me, I have walked in my innocence; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the right way; in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord. (quoted here)

And, finally, a revival of emphasis on the processional chants, such as the Introit, offertory and communion chants. I like vernacular hymns, but don't think they should replace the chants. I know. It is allowed in the rubrics. So, out of obedience I accept it. I still prefer the chants.

Speaking of obedience, what this post is really about is a statement made by another Paul VI Catholic, Jeff Mirus, on his blog.

The most important liturgical disposition is obedience, the very virtue by which Christ saved us in following the Father’s will, the very virtue which lies at the heart of what God the Son does at Mass. The precise form of the liturgy, the style of the music, the brilliance of the homilist, the exterior devotion of the faithful avail nothing without the willingness to be obedient to what the Church prescribes for Divine worship.

In a Church where things can sometimes seem somewhat screwy, this could be a heroic virtue.

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