Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB: Ten Reasons for Ad Orientem

I was grateful in reading Fr. Ray Blake's blog that he made a reference to the following article by Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB, on Vultus Christi, Five Years of "Ad Orientem". [Which blog, incidentally, is another that is worth bookmarking if you haven't already.]

In his article, Dom Kirby details his history and experience in celebrating Mass ad orientem, not to mention his experiences in celebrating both forms of the Roman liturgy. He lists ten reasons for celebrating Mass ad orientem. Here they are:

What are the advantages of standing at the altar ad orientem, as I have experienced them over the past two years? I can think of ten straight off:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.
2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.
3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.
4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.
5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.
6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.
7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.
8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.
9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.
10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.

As we have noted here on the NLM many times, the matter of the orientation of the priest at the altar has the ability to significantly affect both the orientation of the priest and the faithful alike, as well as contribute toward the sense and spirit of the liturgy generally. It is a particularly important matter for the reform of the reform.

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