Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Roman Rite...Genius!

On one of the blogs that I follow, I saw a couple of months ago a book that the blogger highly suggested. The title caught my attention: The Genius of the Roman Rite. I'm a huge fan of a good book and anything in the realm of traditional liturgy is right up my I bought it immediately.

Over the past week I've had the chance to read through it and absolutely loved it. It's a collection of essays that were given recently on various liturgical topics - the use of Latin as the 'language of the Church', the origin of Latin poetry and hymns, a couple of discussions on parts of the Vatican II document on the liturgy, 'Sacrosanctum Concilium,' and some other notable topics. These may not sound like the most interesting topics one might come across, but it was not the topics themselves that necessarily was so great - it was the absolute love of the Church and for the beautiful riches of the Church that the authors showed in their writings that was most incredible for me. *[tangential rant on this point included at the bottom of this post]

I would highly recommend this book, especially the essays on 'Pope Benedict & the Liturgy', 'The mystical meaning of the ceremonies of the Mass', and the one on the organic development of the liturgy. It certainly provided me with a lot to think about as I approach my own ordination to the priesthood and subsequently my being named pastor of a parish. It also makes me look forward to the future, where we might be able to see how scholarship such as this will come to bring about a renewal of our liturgical theology and (hopefully) the liturgy itself.

*Now for my tangential rant...I went home today for my niece's birthday party and my mom was so excited to show me this wonderful stuff that she had gotten at our parish's Gala last night (we're in the process of preparing to build a new church). She takes me to the living room and points out 8-10 little old prayer books. I didn't look at them all, but I did notice one that had an inscription to a boy from his mom at first communion, given to him in 1901. She showed me how beautiful they were - the print in special lettering, the binding still held together, the covers locked together, and they had beautiful images of crucifixions and other religious scenery. I looked at it and couldn't help but say "This is what we've lost." She knew exactly what I meant too. Try to find something like that today...I don't know that it's possible. We have stapled-together little sheets of paper with abstract art and 'feel-good' prayers that show that in the last 50 years a major part of our Catholic faith and culture has been cast out. So much of the beauty of our faith is all but lost to us today, confined to antique books, 'old churches', and nostalgic memories of the good old days.
This is one of the things that I hope to be able to recover in the parishes where I am blessed to be able to serve as a priest. The beauty of the Church - in her art, in her music, in her writings, in her theology, in her devotions, in her rituals, and above all in her liturgies. I firmly believe that if we can but show the people the beauty of the Church, the beauty of the Mass, the beauty of their own lives and vocation, then we will see an incredible revolution and a true experience of the much-longed-for 'new evangelization' spoken of so passionately by John Paul II. Okay, I just had to get that out of my system. If you read through all of that, God bless you for sticking with it. You probably just released a soul from purgatory by your suffering :)

1 comment:

Lioness said...

I just stumbled across your blog by way of your Facebook page. Yay for stalking, because I find that God leads me to some great things sometimes! ;)

Anyway, you, my dear sir, give me so much hope for the future with this post. You are a seminarian who longs for the day he can begin to reintroduce the great riches of our multi-textured, multi-layered Catholic Faith to the world, through your priestly vocation. I wish I could give you a hug! I am only 19 years old myself, but I feel exactly as you do. I am aware of far too many priests who care not for the "old", or care some but not enough. No, they say, to even just *trying out* the Mass in Latin. Not even just once! Not even the Novus Ordo in Latin, which done well can be stunning, too. I know, because I usually attend such a Mass. Oh, thank God for men like you! Someday you shall make a wonderful priest and shall help lead many souls to God. I shall keep you in my prayers. <3

PS- I did not suffer in the least reading through your post. lol. ;)