March 06, 2017

Extraordinary Form

Read a series of rich Amy Welborn posts on the new Vatican II liturgical setup where we are "parachuted into Lent". Good turn of phrase. In the old days, for a thousand years, we were prepared for Lent by three weeks of semi-penitential season to help us focus so that Ash Wednesday isn't such a rude surprise. I definitely feel like I should be in better shape for Ash Wed given that the day feels almost like a solemnity given the fasting and ashes.

It tempted me to want to buy The Liturgical Year but it's a 13-volume set, a priest's life work. I'm awed that someone could write thirteen books on the liturgical seasons - one, I believe, on Septuagesima Sunday alone (a Sunday I'd never heard of till this year). The fellow must've had quite a love for liturgy.

The wondrous, timeless liturgy at Holy Family on Sunday was just what the Great Physician ordered: inspiring, challenging and consoling all at the same time. Wondrous music. No wonder Antonin Scalia liked it so much. And I'm really liking the priest there at HF. They have a gem.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is actually a sacrifice at Holy Family: when the priests lifts the chalice in the new mass, it's a gesture akin to a toast. But with the simple reorientation of the priest towards the altar, the gesture becomes physically what it signifies: an offering of the Son to the Father. There's a deep satisfaction in seeing symbol line up with reality. And since we're body and soul, not just soul, that satisfaction makes perfect sense. The Incarnation is in some ways the secret to everything.
So it was an hour and a half liturgy and it felt like 20 minutes. Utterly amazing. And I so love my '62 Missal. Likely the most beautiful book I've ever owned.
Mesmerizing temptation scene in the desert. So much to meditate on, like how Satan said the angels would protect Jesus if he cast himself down and after Jesus said no, the angels came anyway. Also interesting how the Spirit, not Jesus making the decision on his own, led him to the desert for the 40-day fast.

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