Friday, December 19, 2014

Emptiness and Silence

I’m reading a book entitled Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church, by Peter Kwasniewski. I highly recommend it. This author not only knows the Mass, he obviously understands it, he obviously prays it, and he obviously lives it. He is very articulate, and at times eloquent; you can almost pick a paragraph and random and then meditate on it.

Here’s an example, where he talks about the fact that traditionally, “there was a large open space between the communion rail and the high altar, a space in which the priest and ministers could freely move…This open area accentuates the magnitude of the mystery, not by putting it at a distance, but by giving it ample room, so to speak, to descend into our midst.” [Emphases in original.]

He comments that this abundance of space suggests the divine Presence, and that adding chairs, tables, pedestals, a lectern, etc., simply fill the space and bring it down to human level. He concludes:

In many new or renovated churches, gone is that awaiting emptiness of the stable of Bethlehem, the emptiness of the wounds in Mary’s heart, the emptiness of conceptual understanding in Joseph’s mind, the emptiness of the world awaiting its longed-for Savior – this pregnant and richly-decorated emptiness is gone, filled instead with clutter.

Emptiness. Silence. These two indispensable characteristics of the spiritual life are sorely lacking in the way the novus ordo Mass is celebrated in many (most?) parishes.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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