‘He must increase, I must decrease’

I have posted on priests and on the Latin Mass many a time but I have recently been involved in conversations where people object that the Mass of All Times (the Extraordinary form) places too much weight on the priest, too much of a psychological burden. I believe the answer is obvious: the priesthood is the most sublime, the most arduous, the most demanding of all vocations – that is how it should be, in fact it cannot be otherwise. The fact that today some priests are little more than social workers or parish event facilitators reveals a serious amnesia, not to say corruption, of the theology of Holy Orders and its assimilation to the High Priest. (The writings on the priesthood by St. John Chrysostom or St. John Fisher, among others, would make a good corrective to modern tendencies).

When Christ is present in our midst, the right reaction is to worship Him, not one another. The priest ‘disappears’ into the Holy Sacrifice when he faces ad orientem and offers the sacrifice with his face invisible to the people. Jesus alone is the centre, the one Sun whose light illuminates all the worshipers, including the priest. In this sense, the ancient liturgy places at once all the emphasis and none of it upon the priest – he is the most visible and the most invisible, central and at the same time peripheral. He is central as an icon of Christ, he is peripheral as Jones or Smith. Now things are reversed: Jones or Smith, ‘this man’, is central – what has become peripheral is the unique Mediator between God and man.

Reflect on the ethos of humility inculcated by the traditional rite of Mass. In the classical liturgy, all the ‘weight’ is on the priest and the sacred ministers. This is a good thing entirely, though a difficult one for fallen nature. It is good because, first, it enables the faithful to lean upon their pastor, to go with him to the altar – the liturgy is not suddenly thrown into their hands, but paradoxically, because of the centrality of the cleric, the faithful are able to enter more deeply into the sacrifice ‘under his chasuble’, like the medieval paintings of the nameless faithful crowding under the copious mantle of the Blessed Virgin. The reason is that the objective ‘place’ of worship is in the sanctuary, with the sacred ministers, but subjectively everyone can place himself into this place and follow in his heart the offering made by the priest – there is not a false shift to the ‘heart of the individual believer’ as in Protestant worship. The focus remains on Jesus Christ, Head of the Mystical Body, because the focus remains on His sacerdotal icon, the priest who is the self-sacrificing image of the one High Priest.

When people declare ‘But Christ was a layman’ (may God forgive them this blasphemy), this thought is more than a topical or regional heresy – this may well be called the new Mass heresy par excellence: the laicization of Christ and His priesthood, and the clericalization of the laity. John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger denounced this trend for many years, it is true, but as long as a defective liturgical form continues to shape the minds and hearts of the faithful, we shall see no end of the ongoing desacralization.

The ancient rite preserves the important act of the priest praying with the people. The liturgy has a far greater purpose than to give us an opportunity for a moment’s adoration in the midst of an ocean of banality, noise,  primadonnas  and nursery songs – indeed the liturgy is not supposed to be itself a mortification, a cause of pain, but a consolation, a reservoir of peace and joy. The purpose of the liturgy is to form our souls in the beauty of holiness.

When the priest strives for purity so that his sacrifice may be perfect, the extraordinary rite aids him with its beauty. In other words, his devotion, which arises ‘naturally’ out of his attention to the perfect prayers of the old rite, aids him in striving for and desiring purity and in sacrificing himself perfec-tly. A rite that comes from God and the saints should be the kind of rite to which a devout person, a person who puts himself aside, can totally surrender himself and a rite to which his sacrifice can be perfectly added. If a rite comes from human hands, either by the priest’s choice of what will be in the Mass or by the construction of a rite by men who are not saints, it will not have a universal appeal. In the end the purity of heart of the priest and his desire to sacrifice himself will be at variance with a rite that does not allow him to do so by making him choose what will be in the rite. If the Mass is a thing of his own making, his subjection to God (his devotion) will have to be something he attempts to supply on his own, rather than something elicited by the rite itself.

As Father Nicholas Gihr writes (Holy Sacrifice, 337): ‘That overruling influence of the Spirit of God, that directs even in secondary matters the affairs of the visible Church, nowhere else appears so marked and evident as in the arrangement of the extraordinary rite of the Holy Mass which, although only monumental, yet in its present state forms such a beautiful, perfect whole, yea, a splendid work, that it excites the admiration of every reflecting mind. Even the bitterest adversaries of the Church do not deny it – unprejudiced, aesthetic judges of good taste admit that even from their own standpoint the Mass of all our saints and of all ages is to be classed as one of the greatest masterpieces ever composed. Thus the momentous sacrifice is encompassed with magnificent ceremonies: it is our duty to study to penetrate more and more into their meaning, and to expound what we have learned to the people according to their capacity’.

16 Responses to “‘He must increase, I must decrease’”


  1. 1 Ward Torres February 18, 2010 at 21:22

    GREAT.

    I can’t help but repeat that when the priest and faithful together face the same way, it manifests our common act of worship, it symbolizes our common pilgrimage toward the returning Lord, the Sun of Justice and our hope in the resurrection and the world beyond the here-and-now, our pilgrimage to the Promised Land.

    The priest and people must both face the same direction. And celebrating ad orientem, the Eastward position, is both biblical and patristic and has been done throughout the history of the Church.

    The Mass is to have the sense of an ordered, solemn ceremony addressed to God. There is what we call a vertical dimension – that mystery of the transcendent God. Although ordained to administer the sacraments, it is not the priest who gives grace, it is not I who shed my blood on the cross. When the priest faces the congregation, we can forget or misunderstand that only Christ is the source and giver of all grace. ad orientem avoids focusing attention on the personality and mannerisms of the celebrant and reminds us that the priest stands at the altar in persona Christi, offering the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

  2. 2 Brian February 19, 2010 at 01:23

    Gabriella –

    Thank you for your teaching. The Extraordinary form is certainly not well received here in NJ. Very few parishes offer it. As a child I was trained as an “Altar Boy” with the Latin prayers. I still remember them today. For more people to appreciate this Mass they will have to experience it. I will do all I can to get the word out!

    God bless!

  3. 3 Maria February 19, 2010 at 02:11

    YES!!! This is what the mass is. And yes, we should all be facing the same direction, all praying together. I read somewhere that the church is in a “Good Friday” in these days, but we can hope that Easter is coming. I wish the mass was the same everywhere, but with the liturgy in so many different hands, it isn’t. My most “comfortable” way to worship is a very simple new (post Vatican II – Novus Ordo I think) mass, because it is the most familiar to me and I always know what is going on. I love the Latin mass, but I’ve yet to feel comfortable attending, which is a shame. I was baptized at 2 months old and have gone to mass viritually every weekend of my life – and I feel like an outsider when I got to Latin mass.

  4. 4 Mary Nicewarner February 19, 2010 at 02:32

    My mom sings in the choir at the Latin Mass. She loves it! I told her that I would attend the Latin Mass this month. I always go to the regular Mass because I attend a Bible study after but I’ll have to work something out. Thanks for all the information regarding the Extraordinary Form. When I was born they were already celebrating the Novus Ordo and that’s all I’ve ever known. The Latin Mass seems holier, though. It makes sense for everyone to be facing the Tabernacle where the Holy Eucharist is.

    • 5 churchmouse February 19, 2010 at 10:57

      Hello, Mary — You’ll love Latin Mass. I can’t describe it in a way that will do it justice. Having grown up with it myself, I can see why your mom gets such spiritual fulfilment from singing in the LM choir! She is one lucky lady.

      Also, Catholic churches were packed on Sunday when Latin Mass was the order of the day. It was so quiet, so solemn, so reverent. There was a real mysterium tremendum. The Novus Ordo diminished attendance as well as the idea that the Mass is about God and His Son Jesus Christ.

      I hope that you enjoy Latin Mass as much as Gabriella and some of her readers do.

      Have a great weekend.

  5. 6 anne bender February 19, 2010 at 03:48

    Very interesting! I’ve learned so much from you Gabriella!

  6. 7 Llewellyn February 19, 2010 at 14:24

    Churchmouse is right: It is so quiet, so solemn, so reverent. There was a real mysterium tremendum.

    Maria, The Extraordinary Mass is the same all over the world! It’s the new mass that differs in different countries.. actually, in different parishes! It depends entirely on the creativeness of the priest and the pious women that have taken over the churches.

    I understand how you feel when you attend the Extraordinary Mass at first, but once you have the proper missal to follow it and you’ve attended more than five times, I assure you that you won’t be able to do without.

    The Extraordinary Mass is certainly the more difficult to follow but.. this and more we owe Our Lord.. after all, what did he say about taking the narrow road..

    God bless.

  7. 9 Marcie February 19, 2010 at 21:00

    In addition to the priest-and-people looking together toward the returning Lord (ad orientem, toward the East, from where it is written Our Lord will come), common orientation during the Eucharistic liturgy also symbolized, once, “the journey of the pilgrim people of God towards the future…” It’s worth discussing whether our present orientation contributes to a loss of the congregation’s self-awareness as God’s people on pilgrimage, through history, towards God’s promises.

  8. 10 Karinann February 19, 2010 at 21:17

    Gabriella,
    Thanks for this insightful post. Unfortunately I have to echo Brian’s sentiments as I am also from NJ. More parishes need to offer this form of the Mass. So much sacredness has been lost with the Novos Ordo.

  9. 11 Raman Chakravorthy February 20, 2010 at 10:33

  10. 12 Victor S E MOUBARAK February 20, 2010 at 13:39

    What a lovely peaceful video. Thank you so much for posting it.

    God bless.

  11. 13 Feliks Wallenty, Denmark February 21, 2010 at 09:44

    Maturity is a must both physically and spiritually. As is so often the case, the principles of the physical realm and the spiritual realm are often in conflict with each other, or work in opposite directions. When we mature in the physical realm we INCREASE in size. However, in the spiritual realm maturity means we DECREASE in size!
    It is so easy to get trapped in promoting self rather than God, our needs often drive us to do whatever we need to do to lift “ME” up first.
    Unfortunately you are right. The new mass doesn’t help at all. The priest is the center of attraction and the faithfull quarrell as to who must read or show up in some way during the liturgy but it ends up with only the same ones doing everything all the time.

  12. 14 Morinne February 21, 2010 at 13:46

    Every step every sign every vestment has a deep deep meaning in the Liturgy of All Times.
    Check this site: http://www.catholiclatinmass.org/traditional-latin-mass.html

  13. 15 L'osservatore February 23, 2010 at 00:55

    Ciò che abbiamo trovato nascendo ci è stato donato da Dio e dagli uomini e nulla è nostro ma ne abbiamo solo l’usufrutto.
    Chi crede apprezza Dio e ne coglie la presenza in ogni cosa !!!

  14. 16 Evelina February 23, 2010 at 08:17

    Ciao Osservatore (non Romano, spero)😉

    In due righe dici cose verissime, grazie – ma penso che questo commento doveva essere sotto l’ultimo post di Gabriella, quello sulla gratitudine – o mi sbaglio?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Traduci / Translate

My Patron Saint

Archangel Gabriel

God's Messenger



Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

February 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728

THE LATIN MASS


The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!




FALANGI, TRUPPE, DIVISIONI CORAZZATE. ECCO CHE AVANZA IL NUOVO CATTOLICO: INNAMORATO DI GESU', INTRANSIGENTE, MOVIMENTISTA, IL CROCIATO DEI VALORI, IL SOLDATO DI CRISTO, UN CUORE TRADIZIONALISTA, AMANTE DELLA MESSA DI TUTTI I TEMPI ...



e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa

IL CANTO DEL PARADISO


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto


RELIGIOUS LIBERTY MIGHT BE SUPPOSED TO MEAN THAT EVERYBODY IS FREE TO DISCUSS RELIGION. IN PRACTICE IT MEANS THAT HARDLY ANYBODY IS ALLOWED TO MENTION IT.



PRAY THE ROSARY


The story of our salvation!







Blog Stats

  • 142,473 hits

Clipart

Recent Comments

Lost Bear on O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Margaret Rose Bradle… on O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Deana Dodds on O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Margaret Rose Bradle… on O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Judith Golden on O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Visitor locations – first year

Visitor locations – current year



IN HOC SIGNO VINCES




INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”



Powered by WebRing®.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.
Catholic Blogs Page




Italian Bloggers
Religion Blogs


Don't consider abortion ...


... give a child the chance to tell you how much life is appreciated



WARNING!!! This blog is heretic repellent ...


MODERN CATHOLICS SEE THE CHURCH AS AN ‘OLD-FASHIONED’ DISCRIMINATORY INSTITUTION OF WHICH THEY ARE ASHAMED – A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC WILL DIE TO DEFEND IT.

MODERN CATHOLICS WOULD JUST AS SOON LEAVE THE CHURCH FOR A TRENDY ALTERNATIVE IF THEY DON’T GET THEIR WAY – A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC WILL REMAIN UNTIL THE END OF TIME.


THE CHURCH MILITANT NOW, MORE THAN EVER, NEEDS STRONG WARRIORS.




The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)



Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.
******

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.
******

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
******

In Domino laudabitur anima mea.





"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.




Cantate …


Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae




“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)



Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.




“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)



Lo Spirito Santo


Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!




Confession

Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.




“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)



"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)



"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.






Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)




“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.