Father B. gives lesson on how to say mass the Novus Ordo way

By praying it, not announcing or declaiming and not scanning the audience as if giving a lecture or teaching a class. He really means it, and we know it. It’s how liturgy should be. It’s the sine qua non of liturgical practice. You gotta have heart, you can’t be looking around.

The “pray, brothers and sisters” — Orate, fratres in Latin-mass days and still now in the so-called extraordinary form — is another story, of course. Addressing the people, he looks at them. He does not spout the words as if magical incantations. “Behold the Lamb of God — Ecce Agnus Dei — and other parts, same thing.

Novus Ordo? It’s the Paul VI mass, presumably reflecting the wishes of the Vatican 2 council fathers (bishops from around the world) but arguably altered beyond anything most of them had in mind.

Most of us are accustomed to it by now, many of us know nothing different. For many, it’s a shame, but even for them the situation can be saved or at least ameliorated by how priests say the mass, taking a lesson, for instance, from Father B.

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Mass complainer finds relief, somehow . . .

Blithe Spirit

Looonnnggg song and organ recital between readings Sunday, 8:30 mass, we spectators caught in a web of musicality for a good ten minutes! Participation? Or obedient listening, waiting for the spirit to move us. Blah.

Followed by 2nd reading, slow and moony by soft-voiced woman. Then 8:50 the gospel, at long last. Followed by sermon, at-first slightly bookish but logically progressing — with, lo and behold (they say there is no grace), a sense for the listener that this was the dawning of a time of peace and good will towards his fellow-worshipers.

Look, you never know what’s going to work or when or quite how. But the elderly male worshiper found something new in mass this day. Along with his incurable woolgathering, of course, but that’s another story . . .

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The Mass of the ’40s vs. of today, a Catholic lament

6. The priest never looked at the people, as already noted. It was prayer time, for him and the rest of us, moments of silence and attempted communing with the supernatural.

7. Mass over, church remained a place of prayer, not reverting to a social hall, as if the Sacrament did not remain, ensconced in tabernacle.

Blithe Spirit

1. The Latin was mysterious, signalling the (bona fide) mysteries of the Eucharist, vs. today’s liturgical populism, downgrading the mystical and downplaying the sacral. 

 2. The priest saying Mass was a functionary, reflecting the ex opere operato aspect of what he did.

 3. The priest at mass was (presumably) a priest at prayer, absorbed in that aspect, which meant he did not look at or survey people, even when turning to them to pronounce a blessing or solicit response.

 4. As functionary or performer of the sacred ritual, he was severely limited. Ritual reigned, ad libbing unheard of.

 5. People looked forward and saw the priest facing in the same direction, a crucial element in the transaction but not the focus. (Important point here and now, when the priest has become the focus, people look at him, there being nothing else, presuming they pay…

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Whose glory are we talking about?

Why do priests do that? Remove the “his” for the unnecessary “God’s”? Whose else would it be? I suspect it’s a sort of between-us-chickens thing: “his” is masculine, and there’s too much of that in the church. So start saying “God’s,” and people will get the message.

Blithe Spirit

In the mass as official, I find:

Priest: Pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice
may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
All: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands,
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good, and the good of all his Church.

It’s just before the preface, followed by holy, holy, etc., the old ?Orate Fratres.? Fine.

256px-Holy_Mass

But I hear oftener and oftener this:

Priest: Pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice
may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
All: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands,
for the praise and glory ofGod’s name,
for our good, and the good of all his Church.

Why do priests do that? Remove the ?his? for the unnecessary ?God’s?? Whose else would it be? I suspect it’s a sort of between-us-chickens thing: ?his? is masculine, and there’s too…

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The (holy) week that is, and is, and is . . .

I labor to figure out why, who have been participating in Holy Week as long as I can remember, though less in recent years. Part of it is age, I suppose, which militates against marathon services. Part is a lingering discontent with our reformed liturgy — ah so bland, ah so darn functional, ah so explanatory.

Blithe Spirit

Hearing from a friend about a Holy Thursday service she found inspiring, I had to respond that my baptism is not taking well in recent years, as I have come to consider Holy Week as the Week of Overdoing It.

Indeed, I showed up at our church door yesterday for the usual 8:30 a.m. mass (which I attend sporadically), to be reminded by a note on the door to bishops [sic] and other visiting liturgical performers saying where they should group for the night’s mass. I had plumb forgot, so little have I been concerned about it.

I labor to figure out why, who have been participating in Holy Week as long as I can remember, though less in recent years. Part of it is age, I suppose, which militates against marathon services. Part is a lingering discontent with our reformed liturgy ? ah so bland, ah so darn functional

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Two Holy Thursdays

This was a good solid boost to faith. Music fit the situation, etc. We were all with it, a churchful of attentive, even (quietly) enthusiastic people. It didn’t hurt any that the priest on parade is a Jesuit I have known since we were novices together in 1950 and, more important, that he is a transparent guy without apparent agenda except to do the work of the moment.

Blithe Spirit

Had a very good one-two punch Holy Thursday., with attendance first at my Tridentine-mass church, where some 125 or so people huddled in a church that is really a chapel for the potentially long and boring service that turned out rather good and second at my neighborhood RC church, cathedral-like and all Gothic, where I had the same experience.

It helped that I came late to the mainstreamer, missing the ridiculous foot-washing (and no doubt, ahem,problematic sermon) but catching the guts of it ? offertory to end of mass ? in church with six or seven hundred people. The culmination was the parade of the Host back and forth up and down aisles, people genuflecting as the main priest carried it past them in their pews. I had the feeling of that drama that comes when the great man passes the crowd massed at the curbs, waving, little kids held…

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Complaint received, taken seriously

The air fairly crackles with tension. What can she say? Nothing in direct response, but instead a shot at religious history:

“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

How this much-wed woman getting water at the village well knew enough to say this — just the right thing to advance the discussion — is better left unwondered at.

Blithe Spirit

Third Sunday Lent has Jews thirsty in the desert, complaining to Moses. Fearing violence to himself, M. asks God what to do. God says, hit this rock with your staff, and make sure the elders of Israel are watching. Do it and from the rock will come water. He did it, and out came the water. They had quarrelled with Moses and tested God; so the place was called Massah (testing place) and Meribah (quarreling place), apparently as a memorial to the experience.

The second reading, Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into…

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