Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Liturgy as Art"

                                                                Title Page, Tridentine Missal

We continue to be astonished by the fresh perspectives on the beauty of the Mass offered throughout  Martin Mosebach's "The Heresy of Formlessness."   The book overflows with passages of exquisite sensitivity, as well as some which are wryly amusing.  Here is an example of the latter type, in which Mosebach discusses the Collects, Secrets and Postcommunion prayers of the Gregorian rite:

"It is extremely hard to select one oration as an example, for the choice involves the renunciation of so many others of even greater beauty.  Here then, at random, is the Secret from the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Oblationibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, placare susceptis: et ad te nostra etiam rebelles compelle propitius voluntates." (Be appeased, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the offerings received from us, and graciously turn toward Thee even our rebel wills).

It is excruciatingly painful to descend from the heights of such a prayer to the kind of text that has been substituted for the old orations by the "liturgical reform" . . . I was once present at a Mass at which the lady entrusted with the General Intercessions uttered them in the nowadays customary amalgam of unctuous sentimentality and newspaper jargon; a friend whispered in my ear: "Lord, may our holiday photos turn out well!"

St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.

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