Saturday, January 17, 2015

An Anthropology - Ecstatic, Vertical, Submissive to God

“Contrast all this with the reverence paid to the Gospel or the sanctuary in the old rite, the magnificent prayers of the Offertory, the elaborate incensations, the Athanasian-style Preface of the Holy Trinity chanted in a solemn manner, the Roman Canon with its many signs of the cross and its reverent elevations of host and chalice— not to mention all the preparations the priest and people make: the Asperges, the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Lavabo accompanied by a psalm. Through such ceremonial actions man acknowledges the supremacy of God and his transcendent mystery, begs to be allowed to worship him, begs to be worthy to offer and to partake of the sacrifice that the Son, in his human nature, offers to the Blessed Trinity. The traditional liturgy reflects not only correct theology but correct anthropology. The anthropology embodied in the old rite, with its panoply of supporting customs and laws, is ecstatic, vertical, and submissive to God, as is dignum et iustum; that which is embodied in the new rite, due to its inculturation in the contemporary West, is rationalist, immanentist, horizontal, and dominative, submitting the sacred to a humanistic canon of “community.” The ancient Roman Rite, stately and hieratic, gives praise and homage to the Crucified Lord, thrusting the Infinite Paradox directly into the eyes and ears of the faithful who have the eyes to see it, the ears to hear it.” [Kwasniewski, Peter (2015-01-03). Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church (Kindle Locations 400-409). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.]

I'm so glad Kindle got on the stick and made the Kwasniewski book available so quickly. Although I have barely started reading, I wanted to share a little lightning bolt which hit me while reading the same. It was the brief mention of the preeminence of the old rite for hand washing: "...the Lavabo accompanied by a psalm."  Why did it hit me you ask? Well, because of an experience on the second day of Byzantine Christmas this year in Ivano-Frankivsk: The Archbishop insisted that I preside at the Divine Liturgy, even if he still functioned as principal celebrant at my side. For this fact, I had the joy of going outside of the altar area through the Royal Doors to have my hands washed. The acolyte pours water three times while reciting in a low voice the proper prayer for the ablution. It was not so much how the gesture was performed but that it was performed with prayer. Hence, might I say, my yearning, my "anthropological" yearning for something more "ectastic, vertical and submissive to God..."

The notion of mutual enrichment of the two forms of the Roman Rite is bound to lead us to focus more and better on Christ.


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