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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

So much for leaving the critic hat behind...

(And that is NOT a criticism.
I find it hard.
I am finding it VERY hard, lately.
Sometimes, I think mine's out in the car, or even that I left it home and then some "lector" or priest jams one on my head.)

(I digress.)


Amy Welborn, whom I just do not have the opportunity to read often enough had this to say recently:
this Mass was a great example of how the purported intentions of the post-V2 reforms went horribly wrong because they failed to take Ego into account. Years of tradition and development and more organic-like stuff know about the Ego. Quick fixes forget.

Which means quite simply: When you declare that “the local community” should in some way shape the liturgy, what will often happen is that the only “community” shaping the liturgy will be the musicians and the priest. Ipso facto, untethered from rubric or the specter of sin and set loose by the fateful phrase “in these or similar words” - the liturgy will reflect the egos of both.

So at the beginning we were instructed to “turn and greet Father with our opening song.”

The celebrant ad-libbed much of the Mass (not the Eucharistic prayer, though) and spoke for five minutes after the Greeting – about Hosea, which was the source of the (Weston Priory, of course) processional hymn, but not the First Reading (which was from Ezekiel), preached a thirty-minute terrifically disjointed homily that barely alluded to any of the three Scripture readings (but did make ample reference to Hosea) , and then spent another five minutes at the end of Mass selling the parish golf tournament.

The priest became the center of the Mass – and not in the alter Christus offering sacrifice mode he’s supposed to - and for the rest of us, there was no escaping him.

But I’ve gone over that before in this space. Here’s what struck me this time.

The parish has a special intention for which they are praying to the Virgin.

So after Mass the priest led the people in this prayer to the Virgin for this special intention.

He turned around. Away from the congregation. With them.

He recited the words of this prayer to the Virgin, on his knees facing her statue – which stood in the sanctuary.

He turned , he faced the statue, he prayed.

With us.

I could not help but wonder why embracing this stance and this mode of praying which did not deviate from the given, “rote,” prayer one bit - leading us, but in the same direction – was acceptable now, but not during Mass.
I'm noticing more and more how we have been forced to reinvent the wheel, how someone will suddenly discover, "Oh! if I bow my head at every iteration of the Holy Name of Jesus, the entire ritual is enhanced, the tempo of the prayers becomes perfect...." or, "Wow, the thoughts in the words of these antiphons really are richer and more appropriate to the day than random beloved songs,"... or "Gee, if I say these prayers I just found, effectively banning the mosh pit that is the Gathering of the EMs in the sacristy before Mass, Mass begins on a more prayerful note for all of us!"

Yeah, facing East? it says we're all in this together, (rather than one of us being, say, a beloved bartender, swabbin' out highball glasses leanin' on the zinc, as he tells the rest of us, the seated customers, about a few fun things goin' on in the neighborhood over the next week that we might want to know about.)

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