Tuesday, August 01, 2017

NLM’s 12th Anniversary

Today is the twelfth anniversary of the New Liturgical Movement, and as always, we cannot let the day pass without a word of thanks to our founder Shawn Tribe for his years of dedication to the site, to my predecessor as editor Jeffrey Tucker, and to our publisher, Dr William Mahrt, and to all of our regular writers. We also thank all of our guest contributors and those who send in photopost submissions, and of course, all of our readers for your support, encouragement and the inspiration you provide to continue our work.

Shortly after I took over as managing editor, we received an email from a reader asking “What is the purpose of your website?” 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.” These words are said by the priest at the incensation of the altar during the Offertory; in such a context, “oratio mea – my prayer” means the prayer of the whole Church, in whose name the priest prays the whole of the Mass. The Douay Bible translates them as “Let my prayer be directed as incense,” but the Latin word “dirigatur” can also mean “be set in order.”

The purpose of NLM, therefore, 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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