10 thoughts on “Ad Orientem and Sacred Language”

  1. Beautiful. Timely for me, as just yesterday I was wrestling with this very topic. I attended the first Mass of Fr Matthew at the Shrine . It was offered (prayed) Ad Orientem. As you can imagine it was very beautiful, as is everything done at the Shrine. Everything your eyes come across gives glory to God. Yet, afterwards I was bemoaning the fact that “I” wished “I” could have seen Fr Matthew’s face during the consecration, and wasn’t the “Ad Populum” therefore so much better? I know that worship is all about God and not about “me”. I bristle at the ‘noise’ and lack of reverence in most worship today, but this beautiful homily which I used as my meditation, revealed to me how even though I know what true worship is, I have allowed that “I ” ( I want, I need, etc) to creep into my my subconscious. I am grateful for this ray of light that has revealed another area where work needs to be done.

    1. Berkeley – this is a powerful reflection from you as it reveals both a Godward and human tendency. Thank you for your honesty and openness to share this conflict within you. I have no doubt it will help others.

  2. Thanks Berkeley for the honesty in your post.

    I have a horrible time with the Traditional Latin Mass. I remember my first experience with it was while visiting a religious order. I did not like it. I haven’t been to one since (I disliked it that much).

    However — I have recently been attending a Maronite Rite Mass. I now appreciate the language of their liturgy (Aramaic for certain liturgical portions, as well as a little Greek; and the vernacular is either Spanish, English, and/or Arabic). I love the richness of the text of the liturgy.

    One of the things I realized when attending the Maronite Rite Mass is that liturgically, their Mass is pretty set. The songs are liturgical — except in Spanish because we have for now some “freedoms.” I have actually spoken with the priest about it, and realize that those “freedoms” water down the meaning behind the whole liturgy. There is a richness that gets lost. I suspect that I will probably help the priest transform the Spanish language liturgy so that it is more authentically Maronite.

    This experience with the Maronite Rite Mass has made me realize that the same richness is probably in the Roman Rite Mass, just that it’s been watered down as a unintended consequence to Vatican II, and it is probably up to us to try to recover it. At some point I will probably attempt a Latin Mass again, with a open mind and heart.

  3. Carmen – thanks for your thoughts. It might not be obvious but this Priest is speaking of Ad Orientem in the Novus Ordo. The Council never mandated that priests face the people… Anyway, in AV we don’t dictate which Mass a person attends. What we focus on is our dispositions and an approach to our own participation that is in keeping with the Holy Spirit inspired guidance from the Church. With respect to the Maronite rite… this is my preferred right but God decided I would be born Jewish rather than Lebanese. 🙂

  4. I have not attended the Melkite or Maronite Masses in Birmingham as of yet, though I really need to try to do so before too awfully long. I am going to try to go to an Ordinariate Mass in Mobile at the end of June. I am really looking forward to that.

  5. When I go to Munich, Germany to visit my daughter and family, I always go downtown Munich to attend the Latin Mass. I so enjoy attending there because it reminds me of my youth and the way the Mass was celebrated then. Also, I very much enjoy kneeling and receiving our Lord at the altar rails…some of us have let our parish priest know we would like them back in our church. Is it nostalgia? No, I think not. It’s awareness of a greater respect and reverence for the Most Blessed Trinity that my soul aspires to. Thank you, Dan, for this lovely post. God bless you in all that you do.


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