Thursday, September 04, 2008

What is never planned by a committee

The full text of Fr. Richard Cipolla's sermon at the Extraorindary Form Mass at the Byrd Festival, blogged about here, is now posted online.

Here is an excerpt:

And so today we celebrate this Mass in what is now known as the extraordinary use of the Roman rite. That title is almost incomprehensible. But this Mass is extraordinary firstly because this is not what the ordinary parish church does at Mass. But it is truly extraordinary because it is precisely what has been given to the Church as that divine worship that is sacrifice and sacrament. It is precisely this Mass, the Mass of the Catholic tradition, the Mass of Gregory the Great, of Pius V, of Pius X, of Blessed John XXIII, that is the place where culture and leisure meet, this is the place where what makes leisure possible and what is its goal is found and experienced. This Mass is given to us, not made: it is given, and at the heart of that givenness is that Sacrifice that is at the heart of all worship, but here not sacrifice in general but the Sacrifice of the Son to the Father in the Holy Spirit, and this givenness is in the very physicality of the use of the senses: the chant that is not something one uses for some purpose like reducing stress but rather that is the distillation of prayer, as frolicking among the neumes; the polyphony that is like a waterfall that diffracts the words of the Ordinary into a contemplative rainbow: the Latin whose very state as a dead language allows mere words to transcend their literal meaning and to allow oneself to escape the prison of rational intellectualism and to taste the freedom of heaven; the ceremonial, archaic yet contemporary in the sense of engendering an understanding that goes beyond what liturgical research could ever tell us. And the silence, the silence, especially during the canon of the Mass, that allows us to participate at leisure and therefore actively, in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice.

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