Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Yes, We Are Brothers But We Are Not Saved As Brothers. We Are Saved By the Sacrifice."

As those in "the 'hood" would say...

Whomp! There it is!

The above quote was Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos as he discussed with four British journalists why celebrating the Extraordinary Form Mass is so important and how Pope Benedict XVI wishes to introduce what His Holiness calls the "Gregorian Rite" to every parish in England and Wales. This little press conference is still emitting shock waves within the Catholic cognoscenti in England.

I was reading Fr. Z's entry on Elena Curti's article regarding the press conference, Ringing in the Old. As I read the quote I used as a title, this thought landed on my soul with full force - Worship of community has taken the place of adoring God through the sacrifice of His Son.

I value community. During my years away from the Catholic church, I enjoyed small groups and adult Bible studies. I was involved in prayer groups, mission trips, and a slew of ministries. All of them afforded the opportunity to become better acquainted with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We grew closer to one another as we served in the church. But the "growing closer to one another" worked in conjunction with our own understanding of God's truth.

The Catholic church is different. (As I keep realizing on oh-so-many levels.)

The Mass is THE preeminent glue that holds the church together. Or at least from my prior training, that's how I understood it. But the "glue" was not focusing on one another and how we "experienced" the Mass. The glue was focusing on the sacrifice of Jesus. Simple, yet profound. Bold, but yet nuanced. "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" is too often misunderstood by Protestants as "re-sacrificing Jesus." Nothing could be further from the truth.

The more I reacquaint myself with the Mass, the more I see it in all its beauty and truth - and I have seen this beauty and truth mainly through the prism of the Gregorian Rite. Jesus Christ was indeed sacrificed "once and for all":

For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. - Rom. 6:9, 10 (RSV)

However, we need to remember His sacrifice. We need to remember because there is so much in this world that can cause us to forget. There is so much self-indulgence in the world that leads our eyes toward our own preferences, our own wants, our own desires - that we believers can easily forget about the "I have been crucified with Christ" part. (Gal. 2:20)

It is this self-indulgence I've noticed the most. It isn't just in Catholic churches, but all churches. The focus went from adoring Christ to "getting my needs met." It went from reverencing God to "expressing myself." It evolved from confessing our sins to justifying politically-correct causes. The list could go on and on and on.

The Gregorian Rite is (in my mind), setting things "right" again. It's setting the broken bones. It provides grounding for those who have flown a little too far from their spiritual home and mistakenly believe they're under the "Shadow of His Wing" when in fact they're huddling under a garbage heap. Strong words, I know, from a recent "reclaimer." But I've already seen the trap in other churches. Pope Benedict is trying to lovingly corral his children back into the safe fold of our Heavenly Father's flock.

I know there will be many who will never, ever like "The Latin Mass." They'd rather chew glass than sit through an hour and a half of unintelligible Latin and the whole stand-kneel-sit-stand-bow-stand-kneel routine. I don't believe that the Gregorian Rite is for everyone to love. But I do believe it is for everyone to attend at least once and then re-examine the Mass through its lens. There is no reason why the Novus Ordo could not be transformed by such prayerful consideration.

What I think is happening right now is that many who love their "freedoms" realize their "ideological joyriding"* days are coming to an end and that Papa has taken back the keys to the car.

* From The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church by George Weigel, p 36


Lucy said...

hello MaryRose, thank you for your truth i too had forgotten about my comment.^_^i was always brought up to believe that the hair was the covering, so the transition is more difficult for me.

Mary Rose said...

Hi, PD. :-) Understood about hair as a covering. When I was a little girl, I do remember my mother wearing a small veil but she eventually stopped. I'm glad more women are closely examining Scripture regarding this issue.

To be honest, it feels right within the Latin Mass but I don't think it would be the same within some of the Novus Ordo Masses.

Shirley said...

Mary Rose, I wear my head covering in the only Mass in my area, the NO Mass. At first I was self conscious, but now it just feels right. Love your blog.