Monday, August 01, 2016

NLM’s 11th Anniversary

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the New Liturgical Movement, and the first time I celebrate this anniversary as editor. We cannot let the day pass without a word of thanks to our founder Shawn Tribe, for his nearly eight years of dedication to the site, to our long-time contributor and editor Jeffrey Tucker, to our publisher, Dr William Mahrt, to the Church Music Association of America, our parent organization, as well as to the rest of our team, new and old, for all the work they put into NLM on a daily basis. And of course thanks to all of our readers for your support, encouragement and the inspiration you provide to continue our work.

In the past eleven years, we have had over 26 million page views. Sometime not too long ago, (I didn’t notice when precisely) we passed the 12,000 post milestone; all of our past posts remain accessible in our archives, although some of the older links within them are now dead, including the link which provided our very first article, a piece by Stratford Caldecott (R.I.P.) entitled, “Why a New Liturgical Movement?”

For myself, I would say that the purpose of NLM is summed up very neatly in the logo at the top of the page, in the circular band around the thurible: “Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum.” The Douay
Bible translates these words as “Let my prayer be directed as incense,” but the Latin word “dirigatur” can also mean “be set in order”; they are said by the priest at the incensation of the altar during the Offertory of the Mass. In such a context, “my prayer” means the prayer of the Church as a whole, in whose name the priest prays the whole of the Mass.

The purpose of NLM, then is to help set the prayer of the Church in order, for it is pointless to deny that in many respects it is not in order. Our very first post was a report on a liturgical conference held in England, at which Fr. Mark Drew proposed (almost two years before Summorum Pontificum) the lifting of restrictions on the celebration of the traditional liturgy, stating “Don’t fear anarchy. … Anarchy is what we have already.” To this purpose, we examine every facet of the Church’s liturgical life, and everything related to it, however marginally, historical and contemporary, in the hope of contributing to the process of setting the prayer of the Church in order. We share the essential goal of the first Liturgical Movement: to restore the liturgy in its entirety to pride of place in the Church as the highest and most perfect expression of Her life of prayer.

The words that follow, “sicut incensum – like incense” remind us that the prayer life of the Church is also the best example which She can offer to the world of Her service to God, “For we are the good odor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” The thurible itself is a reminder also of the duty of charity, the greatest of the virtues, for when the priest returns it to the deacon, he says before he is incensed, “May the Lord enkindle within us the fire of His love, and the flame of eternal charity.” Let it serve as a reminder to all, in the midst of all the controversies and difficulties that inevitably result from such an enterprise, that the goal of the Church’s prayer is union with God in eternal charity.

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