Sunday, January 13, 2008

More Ad Orientem

  • Isn't it glorious how everything happens in the shadow of the Cross?
  • I love it that the celebration at the altar faces and acknowledges the crucifix and all that goes on in the great fresco of the Last Judgement.
  • I love the fact that when the Pope turns to the people at the "Ecce Agnus Dei" there is nothing between him and the people.


Paulinus said...

This is the Latin Rite as the Fathers meant it to be celebrated. Deo gratias

roydosan said...

Now you won't hear this very often... In Today's (Monday) Guardian Newspaper there is a splendid double page colour photograph of Pope Benedict celebrating Mass ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Thank you for the inspiring post, Father.

I find myself in total agreement with Paulinus.

This is Mass as it is meant to be celebrated.

Ad orientem, versus Deum, turning towards the Lord, facing liturgical east, etc., are all very well as descriptions.

But there is no sight like the priest standing before the altar, before God, as it were.

One feels a greater sense of intimacy. One is drawn into the sacred action.

It is true. The priest really is leading the people.

The sight of the priest standing behind the altar, facing the people, creates a sort of tableau, a spectacle, something constructed, almost artificial, from which one feels detached.

The Mass as it is meant to be celebrated.

Yes, I can't help feeling that's the best description I've read.

(Of course, there is no reason to exclude celebrations on a table altar, facing the people, in cases of real pastoral need.

As long as the table altar can easily be moved out of the way.)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I just hope I live long enough to see Mass celebrated Ad orientem as the norm.
I have just returned from a few days in Paris and it is so sad to see the elaborate altars in so many of the churches there standing unused. At least they are still there and can be admired sometimes with difficulty. When kneeling in these ancient churches, parts of the great altars are obscured from view by the very plain table altars placed in front of them. In one church I visited the table altar actually looked like the back of a cheap piece of furniture - I'm sure it was fronted with hardboard whilst behind rose a most magnificent altar. I was tempted to ask why when I saw someone receiving visitors but did not have the time.
It is not easy to pray in the best of circumstances, but when thoughts of 'How could they do that to such a beautiful church' keep on returning, it is nigh impossible!
Incidentally, I attended Mass on saturday evening in a church built over a Metro station and every few minutes a rumble was heard and felt but I found this far easier to ignore than the contrast between the High Altar and the table altar.

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