Saturday, July 07, 2007

Is Timing Everything? What about "Summorum Pontificum"?

I have only known the Mass in the vernacular, and I LOVE IT. With that said though, I go to a Latin Mass every first Saturday of the month (today) and usually find that I want everything to slow WAY down so I can take all the mystery of it in. I do believe there may be important aspects about releasing the Summorum Pontificum document now:

1) as Athos brought up in a comment to a previous post, there will be a bonding of sorts for all Catholics everywhere (including past and future). As the Church continues to be under attack this binding back of Catholics to Our Source of Sustenance will prove to be vitual;

2) it will stimulate a deepening and strengthening of the meaning of sacrifice - as sacrifice is at the heart of the Mass. Girardians will see the significance of this and I believe that this is crucial as we own up to - God wants mercy (as in self-sacrifice) and not the usual projecting of our violence onto another (or falling back into pagan violence that Athos posted here). Pope Benedict XVI continues to shatter the hall-of-mirrors of relativism as he points the way to peace masterfully using Truth to explain the differences in sacrifice; and

3) it centers or re-focuses our sights on the Real Transcendence. Again another point of significance for a Girardian - our only way to break free of the inevitability of mimetic doubling and rivalry was having a model "without sin" - a Transcendent Other. As we all know that we are so into living and believing without MYSTERY, going on for now generations, as we have raised ourselves up in educational environments and 'self-sustaining' worldviews that dispensed with mystery all together. The Latin Mass brings MYSTERY back with full regalia.

Thanks be to God. AMEN.


Henry Karlson said...

Ever get a chance to visit any of the Eastern Catholic parishes in the area? I know Holy Transfiguration Melkite Catholic Church is popular in Virginia; I go to St Gregory of Nyssa in Beltsville; there is even an Ethiopian Catholic parish I want to visit nearby, but I don't want to do it alone when I do so.

If you have not, I would recommend it!

David Nybakke said...

Ahtos asks a very important question regarding these points, "2) it will stimulate a deepening and strengthening of the meaning of sacrifice - as sacrifice is at the heart of the Mass" and "3) it centers or re-focuses our sights on the Real Transcendence."

How does the Mass in Latin accomplish what you say it does (above), simply by being in Latin?

Well, as usual, I do not do a good good of explaining myself... You are right to question how simply being in Latin will the Mass in Latin help us.

2 ways that I believe that the Latin Mass will help us - The Latin Mass at this moment in history provides us, the average American church goer, the opportunity to participate anew in this very intimate setting with Our Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
1) A 'foreign' tongue inevitably causes us to slow way down - to ask questions - to research meaning of our relationship with the liturgy, with the Triune God and with one another. This opens the door for us to see and hear from folks like Girard. It has only been just recently that such thinkers as Girard (and others) have come upon the scene to help provide the anthropological pointers to a deeper meaning of such terms as sacrifice.

2) REVERENCE - oh my God - AWE - VENERATION. I don't mean to take away anything from the Mass in the vernacular, but have you not been to a Mass in Latin? I know you have, so don't mind the stupid question, Athos (the question is more for the other readers). But a hint to what I am getting at: look at the pictures I used in this post. I know, I know, the Mass in Latin could become the simple run through Mass, or we can 'turn off' as we approach it, but right now, the Mass in Latin, as it is performed and lived out right now, takes our senses, our intellect, our understanding of who we are, and places it right into the MYSTERY, the unknown.

Isn't language amazing sometimes.

I don't know that this makes any sense or whether it is a legit way of looking at it, however my participation in the Latin Mass has been what I have just tried to explain above. And it will take time and time and time for us to receive the understandings that I refer to earlier, however it is happening. There are growing pockets of people today that are ripe for this deepening and strengthening of their Catholic experience. We already know that Pope B16 has been introduced, and I feel somewhat influenced by Rene's work to some degree. And we can help by continuing to point bloggers toward Gil Bailie and Rene Girard.

Athos said...

Michael Liccione weighs in on the moto proprio at Sacramentum Vitae. One would do well to read his link on "the global war of Islam against Christianity..."

David Nybakke said...

You know, I am probably all wrong on thinking that SP will do anything for anyone.

With that said I will add that in the comment section of the post by Michael Liccione, he writes that, "In either form, the Mass is the Mass; indeed, when the N.O. is done as it should be, what's essential to the Mass is more perspicuous, at least to me, than it was in the Tridentine."

Hummmm, the Mass is the Mass...

I don't mean to take light his comment, but I am not seeing something here?

...the Mass is the Mass...

Shouldn't the Mass be thought in terms of breathless, awe, and total reverence?

I ponder the Mass somewhat as I ponder God as He responds to Abraham's request by instructing him to prepare a solemn ceremony of making a covenant:

"So the Lord said to him, 'Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.'
Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away." (Gen 15:9-11)
God asks Abraham to prepare the ceremony as He asks of us ever since the Last Supper to do the same.

In Genesis, here we experience the original covenant, and oh My God, what power and catharsis. At the Mass we experience, not the animal sacrifice, but the remembrance of the blood-letting sacrifice that ends our ritual forms of blood-letting of the old sacred. In the Mass we are taken up by nothing short of a transforming awe and wonder.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts: “The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished ‘once for all’ by the redemptive death of His Son Jesus Christ”.

I believe that anytime that we re-focus on what is happening at the Mass we are opening ourselves up -- 'girding up the lions' if you will, more fully to the Pascal Mystery at the heart of the Mass so as to stand firm against the blows of the enemy.

Athos said...

First of all, Aramis, I really like this format for comments. Thanks so much for coming up with it; excellent!

Re: "the Mass is the Mass," I truly believe it is at once the most extraordinary Event in which human beings can participate, and one of the most ordinary all at the same time. It calls for the utmost dignity, care, and diligence -- the presiding priest should realize he is embodying Our Lord and he should get out of the way and not not inflict the people with his sparkling personality (one thing I got really sick of in the Protestant world-of-church-growth-itis).

Gil Bailie says -- I don't know, maybe in his talk on the Eucharistic Table, maybe elsewhere -- that we should receive Holy Communion as though receiving the "cool ade at Jonestown:" like people consigned to death. It is a joining with Christ's suffering and death, as you note its affiliation with the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis.

What the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should not become is "pentecostal" if you will: an emotionally charged hoopla. THAT is taking us, veering us, close (again) to the kind of catharsis of the Sacred. I'm thinking Our Lord would slap His forehead and roll His eyes if He caught us heading THAT direction --- again...

Now, Latin or vernacular? I'm NOT against it, but I stand by my earlier comments:

(a) it creates a unity for all Catholics,

(b) it will reignite an interest in Latin, since the faithful already (now) know the meaning of the words of the Mass; sort of a "aha! So that's what 'sursum corda' means! Lift up your hearts!"

(c) it may create a bit of a doubling effect with Arabic; after all, 'they' have a language 'we' don't understand -- now we have one too (that we don't understand very well either), and

(d) the reform-wreckovators will squeal like all get out, but, hey, they're in their 70's and 80's anyway, so "reform the reform" along with the Holy Father. What ho and anon!

I am the Pope's man, and, therefore, I can't wait to be more actively "assisting" at the Holy Eucharist in Latin.