Benedictine monk: reverent liturgy helps us encounter Christ


#1

My apologies for the length, I cut out quite a bit but to cut much more would have rendered things almost meaningless. Of course, people can go to the link, but links have a way of disappearing sometimes.

catholicnewsagency.com/news/benedictine-monk-reverent-liturgy-helps-us-encounter-christ/

…Dom Reid is assisting Bishop Dominique Rey of the Fréjus-Toulon diocese in organizing “Sacra Liturgia 2013,” a conference which will discuss the role of the liturgy as a foundation for the Church’s mission, all in the context of the Year of Faith. “Sacra Liturgia 2013” will be held in Rome June 25-28, and will include speakers as well as celebrations of Mass and Vespers. The conference is being co-sponsored by The Cardinal Newman Society, Ignatius Press, De Montfort Music, and other groups. Speakers include Cardinals Malcolm Ranjith and Leo Burke; Archbishop Alexander Sample; Monsignor Guido Marini; and Tracey Rowland. Topics include such things as “liturgical catechesis and the New Evangelization” and “the Sacred Liturgy and the New Communities.”

Bishop Rey told New Liturgical Movement that he hopes the conference “will help further the liturgical renewal so dear to Pope Benedict’s heart and demonstrate liturgical foundation the of New Evangelization in this Year of Faith.”…

…Thus, the celebration of the liturgy is central to our relationship with Christ. While “some see it as enough that these rites are celebrated validly and licitly,” Dom Reid said it is “hardly sufficient.” “If we take seriously that fact that we are bodily, sensual creatures whose connection with Christ is by means of created signs…we will celebrate the liturgy as well as we possibly can so as to optimize our connection, as bodily and psychological creatures, with the person of Jesus Christ.”

Liturgy matters, Dom Reid said, because “that connection is the foundation of all evangelization.” He offered two contrasting examples, showing how different ways of celebrating Mass can have “very different effects” on those attending. A priest whose manner of celebrating Mass suggests reverence, profound faith, and “awe for the mysteries celebrated” may “easily bridge the way for those assembled to encounter Christ.”…

…In announcing “Sacra Liturgia 2013,” Bishop Rey noted that “the Sacred Liturgy is at the centre of the new evangelization” and that the conference would be “focusing on the liturgy and liturgical formation as the point of departure for the new evangelization.” Dom Reid echoed this, saying that “our Christian life and formation is essentially liturgical – only from that are we able to go out as evangelists.” He even went so far as to say, “there is no such thing as an un-liturgical Catholic.” The approach to liturgy should be one that seeks the beautiful and the best because “if the liturgy is celebrated in a minimalistic way – or worse, if it is abused by individuals or groups in a way the Church neither intends or permits – then my formation will be deficient,” said Dom Reid.

“My connection with Christ will be impeded and my opportunities to thank God or to seek his healing and strength will be jeopardized.” Benedict XVI set an example for the proper place of liturgy in the Christian life, Dom Reid suggested. He referenced his words, spoken while prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that “the true celebration of the sacred liturgy is at the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.” While “in recent decades” the importance of liturgical nourishment “has not, perhaps, been well appreciated,” Dom Reid said that Benedict’s 2007 apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” was a reminder that “our liturgical diet has to be more than the mere minimum.” Dom Reid concluded by saying that “when the sacred liturgy – old or new – is celebrated according to this spirit (of richness and beauty) it forms and sustains us in the life of faith and in our mission in the world.”

This article does a nice job of describing why some of us here on CAF are so concerned about the liturgy.

Peace of Christ,


#2

Some of Pope Benedict’s thoughts on the liturgy.

ceciliaschola.org/notes/benedictonmusic.html#Silence


#3

Blessed Pope John Paul II's Apostolic letter regarding the liturgy:
adoremus.org/JPII25SC.html


#4

Thanks, jwinch2. Now I'm just sad that I can't go to Rome this summer. I would love to hear Msgr Marini and Abp Sample speak. The quote from Dom Reid that really speaks to me is:

“our liturgical diet has to be more than the mere minimum.”

I have never understood liturgical minimalism. I am fine if other want that, but don't force all of us to live on the merest scraps.

I do love the topics (sacraliturgia2013.com/speakers/) and that mass will be offered in both forms by Cardinal Brandmüller and Cardinal Canizares Llovera. I hope they make the proceedings of the conference available online.


#5

[quote="Usige, post:4, topic:318619"]
I hope they make the proceedings of the conference available online.

[/quote]

That is an excellent idea. I may even write them and suggest it.

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree completely.


#6

I am very concerned about the liturgy and I think weak liturgy actually drives people away from the Church, especially, you wouldn’t expect it, young people.

catholicwvengeance.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/what-young-catholics-truly-want/


#7

[quote="latingirl, post:6, topic:318619"]
I am very concerned about the liturgy and I think weak liturgy actually drives people away from the Church, especially, you wouldn't expect it, young people.

[/quote]

I concur. Young people who are serious about their faith seem to want the real deal and along with it, all of the Church's tradition to boot. There have been multiple reports of this.

Peace,


#8

I just wrote Bishop Sample an e-mail in hopes that he will do exactly that.

Peace,


#9

Let's please not get into a conemnation of simple liturgies. Please lets not confuse simple with irreverent.

Many Cistercian monastic communities have very simple and even austere liturgy, Many Benedictine communities do as well, and many parishes imitate that simple and austere spirituality, the spirituality of poverty and detachment.

**When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." (Matthew 14:15-16)

This is the spirituality of Christ in the desert praying by himself or inviting the disciples to come with him into the desert to pray, the spirituality of Christ feeding five thousand out in the desert.

Poverty, detachment, solitude and simplicity are authentic expressions of Catholic spirituality and have as much a place in the Mass as any other authentic Catholic spirituality.

A Benedictine monk lives detachment, solitude and simplicity every day. A Benedictine monk himself has retreated from the world into the desert of the monastery and understands this spirituality well. This is not what the author means when he uses the term "minimalistic".

-Tim-


#10

[quote="TimothyH, post:9, topic:318619"]
Let's please not get into a conemnation of simple liturgies. Please lets not confuse simple with irreverent.

Many Cistercian monastic communities have very simple and even austere liturgy, Many Benedictine communities do as well, and many parishes imitate that simple and austere spirituality, the spirituality of poverty and detachment.

[/quote]

Most Benedictine liturgies are not as simple as those of the Cistercians. Not that I have seen anyway. Regardless, the Cistercian Charism is for the O Cist or the OCSO, not necessarily for the universal Church. Cistercian monks sought out that charism and manner of life and through God's grace they are given the grace to live it.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that every Mass needs to look like the Easter vigil or anything. Merely that we don't always have to go with the least option in order of preference of the Church.


#11

[quote="jwinch2, post:10, topic:318619"]

Most Benedictine liturgies are not as simple as those of the Cistercians. Not that I have seen anyway. Regardless, the Cistercian Charism is for the O Cist or the OCSO, not necessarily for the universal Church. Cistercian monks sought out that charism and manner of life and through God's grace they are given the grace to live it.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that every Mass needs to look like the Easter vigil or anything. Merely that we don't always have to go with the least option in order of preference of the Church.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

That is basically what I was going to say. I did not equate simplistic liturgical expressions with irreverent, but too often I see people say Benedictines do X or Franciscans do Y so we all should. Those people are drawn to that spiritual expression, but we should not assume that all are called to follow that kind of spirituality. I for one am not drawn to Franciscan or the Desert Fathers spirituality.

When I speak of liturgical minimalism I specifically mean the stripping of liturgical actions without understanding the significance of what is being removed. It's the thought that liturgical actions are clutter that hinder our worship of God. In specific I am thinking of liturgist that do not have a good understanding that each liturgical action has a very specific meaning and function. It's a little like stripping parts off a car to make it lighter and faster. It's one thing when you know what is significant, but it should always be done with full understanding of what is lost and what spiritual benefit one is trying to gain.


#12

[quote="Usige, post:11, topic:318619"]
:thumbsup:

That is basically what I was going to say. I did not equate simplistic liturgical expressions with irreverent, but too often I see people say Benedictines do X or Franciscans do Y so we all should. Those people are drawn to that spiritual expression, but we should not assume that all are called to follow that kind of spirituality. I for one am not drawn to Franciscan or the Desert Fathers spirituality.

[/quote]

I am drawn to that spirituality, in particular Benedictine. However, I also recognize that the monks of the OSB by and large take their liturgy very seriously. In fact, it was the beauty and reverence of the Mass at a parish which happened to be staffed by a Benedictine Monk which caused me to look into the Order in the first place. At the time, I was in formation with the Dominican Laity and was firmly convinced that I was going to be a son of St. Dominic in the Order of Preachers. After additional exposure to the liturgy and the spirituality behind it, I became more and more attracted to the Benedictine charism and their spiritual approach to God. In short, it was the liturgy that drew me in, plain and simple.

When I speak of liturgical minimalism I specifically mean the stripping of liturgical actions without understanding the significance of what is being removed. It's the thought that liturgical actions are clutter that hinder our worship of God. In specific I am thinking of liturgist that do not have a good understanding that each liturgical action has a very specific meaning and function. It's a little like stripping parts off a car to make it lighter and faster. It's one thing when you know what is significant, but it should always be done with full understanding of what is lost and what spiritual benefit one is trying to gain.

Well put. Very well put in fact. You said it much better than I did.


#13

Benedictines do in fact take the liturgy very seriously. In addition, Solesmes in France has been mandated by the Vatican to research and preserve Gregorian chant. So monasteries of that congregation (which includes the one I'm associated to) have very beautiful liturgies (and sometimes long: at Ascension Thursday last year a monk made his solemn profession at Mass and the Mass was therefore 3 hours long...).

Every liturgical action is steeped in deep meaning and is executed with the utmost care and attention to detail. And these guys just love what they do!

It is entirely Ordinary Form; it is the pinnacle of what Sacrosanctum Concilium intended for the renewed liturgy. It's proof that OF liturgies can be every bit as reverent and beautiful as EF liturgies.


#14

[quote="OraLabora, post:13, topic:318619"]
Benedictines do in fact take the liturgy very seriously. In addition, Solesmes in France has been mandated by the Vatican to research and preserve Gregorian chant. So monasteries of that congregation (which includes the one I'm associated to) have very beautiful liturgies (and sometimes long: at Ascension Thursday last year a monk made his solemn profession at Mass and the Mass was therefore 3 hours long...).

Every liturgical action is steeped in deep meaning and is executed with the utmost care and attention to detail. And these guys just love what they do!

It is entirely Ordinary Form; it is the pinnacle of what Sacrosanctum Concilium intended for the renewed liturgy. It's proof that OF liturgies can be every bit as reverent and beautiful as EF liturgies.

[/quote]

Agreed. The solemn profession we attended at St. Gregory's, which is not in Solesmes, but still does a beautiful Mass, was 2.5 hours minimum, full of liturgical meaning, and very beautiful. I'm not suggesting that I want every Sunday Mass to be that long! :eek: But, I am in complete agreement with you that the OF of the Mass can be very beautiful and reverent.


#15

[quote="jwinch2, post:10, topic:318619"]
Most Benedictine liturgies are not as simple as those of the Cistercians. Not that I have seen anyway. Regardless, the Cistercian Charism is for the O Cist or the OCSO, not necessarily for the universal Church. Cistercian monks sought out that charism and manner of life and through God's grace they are given the grace to live it.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that every Mass needs to look like the Easter vigil or anything. Merely that we don't always have to go with the least option in order of preference of the Church.

[/quote]

Nor do we have to go with the most option. More does not equal better. Sometimes less is better. It is for me.

The spirituality of "Less" is an authentic Catholic spirituality.

-Tim-


#16

The spirituality of “less” certainly is authentic. However, I believe it a mischaracterization to say more or less, as if it implies the amount of something. While there are times that this may be true such as in whether or not incense is used, etc., the addition or subtraction of something is not really what I was referring to.

Here is what I was trying to say earlier, which in looking back, I can see I did not say very clearly. The musical options of the Mass are a good example, and one that is particularly close to my heart. There are going to be four main places where music is added into the Mass (entrance, presentation of gifts, Holy Communion, and recessional). In addition, we have the obvious other places such as the Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, etc. Those are going to be done pretty much, with obvious exceptions depending on the liturgical season. The question becomes how they are to be done. For this, the Church has also established a hierarchy in terms of which is the most preferred option and which is the least preferred option. That is what I was referring to.

My apologies for not being more clear in my earlier statement.

Please understand also that this is not about my preference. For example, my preference for music in the Mass would a mix of the antiphons and traditional hymns and perhaps some plain chant. However, the Church’s stated preference is for the Propers and Gregorian chant. If I were to design the perfect Mass for me personally, it would likely not look like what the Church seems to prefer. However, I am trying to be obedient (something I stink at) and make efforts towards the Church’s preference rather than my own.

The other thing I would mention is that I agree with the earlier poster (Usige) when they mentioned the removal of certain liturgical actions without always having the knowledge regarding the significance of those actions. If you have someone who really knows the liturgy well and the theology behind it, then addition or substraction of certain things might be a good idea depending on the situation. However, I really do not believe that to be reflective of the situation in the majority of parishes where you have well meaning people who, through no fault of their own, really don’t have the proper training to add or subtract things from the liturgy or even to advise the priest on such matters in their role on the liturgy committee, pastoral council, etc. In those situations, it is probably the prudent thing to do to just go with what the Church provides. In monasteries or priories where you might really have a well trained liturgist on site, this would obviously be a different story. Even in certain parishes where you had a liturgy committee member who really went out of their way to learn their craft or had a pastor who was really well versed in those things, I would suggest it to be a different story as well.

Peace of Christ,


#17

[quote="TimothyH, post:15, topic:318619"]
Nor do we have to go with the most option. More does not equal better. Sometimes less is better. It is for me.

The spirituality of "Less" is an authentic Catholic spirituality.

-Tim-

[/quote]

I was thinking about your comments a bit further after reading something on the Chant Cafe that popped up on my Facebook news feed. In the article they were discussing their thoughts on what Pope Francis might do with the liturgy, and they made the comment that we tend to have things upside down sometimes when it comes to understanding liturgical traditions.

According to them, in the history of the Church, chant was considered to be the most austere and simple, the least opulent option for the Mass. Because there was no instrumentation, the text was by and large that of Sacred Scripture rather than lyrics to a song, and it was considered part of liturgical action instead of entertainment, chant was considered to be the simplest form of liturgical music.

Nowadays, we tend to have the impression that chant is some sort of high brow and decadent thing as opposed to simplicity (I have been guilty of this myself on many occasions), which is very much the opposite of how it was thought of in the past.

Here is the article, in case you are interested. chantcafe.com/2013/03/is-chant-in-danger_15.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheChantCaf+%28The+Chant+Caf%C3%A9%29

Peace,


#18

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