Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Manifestations of "Enrichment"

Recently I asked our priests and others about their understanding of how the Holy Father's motu proprio might help in one's approach toward the modern Roman liturgy -- or put differently, how it might help the project of reforming the reform. I received a number of responses, some quite lengthy. Here are a few excerpts which I thought readers would be interested in.

I came across your web site a few months ago and I follow with great interest the articles you have posted. It was through your web site that I learned about the "Benedictine arrangement." I believe that the liberalization of the Extraordinary Form will have a great impact on the Ordinary Form of Mass. In particular, the stress that is being made on the organic development of the liturgy by the Holy Father. This can only help promote the "reform of the reform" that is desperately needed. What I hope to see in practice for the Ordinary Form is the recovery of "ad orientem" celebration and a greater use of the chant and the polyphonic repertoire used in parishes.

-- Fr. G.L.

Another priest writes in as follows:
In response to your recent post on the topic of how the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite has affected my ars celebrandi of the Novus Ordo, all I can say is that the influences have been spiritually profoundly positive for me. I first began celebrating the low-Mass at the North American College in Rome last October, when I returned for my 5th year of graduate studies. I took to celebrating the E.F. as often as was possible... and there was no small quantity of seminarians that were willing to serve and attend it.

The most over-arching influence that I have felt so far is the sense of reverence and communion with heaven and all of creation one senses in the E.F., exactly as Cardinal Ratzinger described the true nature of the Mass in Spirit of the Liturgy. It also fills in small gaps left inexplicit in the Novus Ordo Liturgy, such as what to do with and where to place your free hand when the time comes to turn a page in the Missale, or to bow the head toward the Cross at the Holy Name. I consider myself blessed to have been ordained just after the release of the motu proprio because of the spiritual nourishment, education value, and sense of continuity with our Tradition that experience with the Extraordinary Form has given me. the new diocesan master of ceremonies, I am trying to familiarize myself with the basics Pontifical Mass in the chance that our new chief shepherd would want to celebrate according to the 1962 books.

-- Fr. BB

Finally, it seems worthwhile to also include what one seminarian wrote in:
In my second year of seminary, the Holy Father issued motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.” With this, the availability of what was now to be known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was increased exponentially. I was blessed to attend a workshop put on in Chicago on the Extraordinary Form; […] The workshop allowed me to become intimately familiar with the rites and rituals of the Extraordinary Form, allowing me to move with ease in praying and serving the Mass.

What is more, the familiarity with the Extraordinary Form has deepened my participation and prayer at the Novus Ordo. Never have I known such a deep love and prayer with either Form. The explicit theology in the Extraordinary teaches about the implicit theology in the Ordinary. I have found myself more relaxed and enlivened in the Ordinary Form of the Mass; I have become a part of the priest’s pleading in a way that I would have never known before my exposure to the Extraordinary Form. Most importantly, I have learned what active participation really is. [Writer’s emphasis] The Extraordinary Form doesn’t lack participation; rather, I have found that I actively participate within the Mass, not as an addition to the Rite itself. This distinction that can be learned from the Extraordinary Form is crucial to how I hope to handle liturgy, God willing I’m ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ; it affects every aspect of the Mass.


Overall, it was a blessing that God willed it that I might be educated about our liturgical heritage…

-- A Seminarian

One of the things which spurred on this question (and to our priests and others, do feel free to send more of these into me) was that it seems to me that it is useful today to consider the full genius of the Pope's motu proprio and part of what he perhaps intends when he speaks of "enrichment".

The motu proprio is about the usus antiquior most certainly, but it is not solely about the usus antiquior. It is also about the broader liturgical questions within the Latin church, which involves two forms of the Roman rite: one "more ancient" and one more recent. It is about reclaiming traditional liturgical expressions and their central place in the life of the Church.

It has always seemed to me that one aspect of the motu proprio is that, by making the usus antiquior more readily available, we are being allowed to ground ourselves and familiarize ourselves with our liturgical inheritance as it developed and had been received and passed on through the ages. Such being the case, we will be able to bring this to our approach to the modern Roman liturgy, celebrating it in a greater form of continuity. All this in turn will serve as a greater preparation and foundation for the deeper mission of the reform of the reform which involves not only the ars celebrandi but a re-consideration of the very substance of the missal itself and the way in which it was reformed.

As we move forward in life in the post-Summorum Pontificum Church, it is important to keep these new dynamics in mind.

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