Monday, November 15, 2010

We need it because...

At Mass with a friend recently. On the way home, we talked about the new translation of the missal.

"Oh, I suppose we need a new translation," said my friend. "We get bored and don't pay attention to the old so something new is good."

I stopped.

I looked.

A trifle aghast.

And I said that this comment was exactly why we need the new translation..not because we need change but because we need to return to the use of more sacred language, not more innovations. We need a continuity with Tradition not a break from it. To paraphrase a homily I heard yesterday.

Okay, so what exactly do I mean?

The Holy Father describes this continuity...

The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age -- the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations. Pope Benedict XVI Letter To Seminarians.

We pray, we understand, we draw close to God and to the community of believers m
ore effectively when pray the liturgy within the living Tradition of the Church. We then live out our life in a spirit of Faith and in a spirit of prayer.

We do not need liturgy that is all about superficial emotions, feel good phrases or homilies; we do not need innovations, extraneous activities and words inserted in the rite, to help us pay attention. The liturgy itself, and our understanding of the liturgy, should help us to pay attention, to draw closer to God, in a spirit of adoring prayer.

One could say that we need the new translation of the missal in order to re-introduce all the faithful to the use of, the importance of, sacred language...and to thus use this introduction of the new translation as an effective means of liturgical formation. As we learn why we need the changes; as we learn of the changes; then we can also learn, and be instructed in, the sacred meaning of our Divine worship.

What an opportunity, for priest and faithful alike, to instruct, to learn. To know and understand the liturgy, the public worship of the Church. What an opportunity to place our liturgy within the history and Tradition of the Church, to continue to pray with the saints with a deeper understanding, to stand before God, adoring Him. not only with our feelings but with our entire self -- our intellect, our emotions, our love, our physical presence and internal and external actions.
As we understand the new translation of the missal and the changes, as we pray with more conscious intent, we will see development in our formation as Catholics. Formation, leaning closer to the will of God with understanding and knowledge, is a lifelong process. The work of both children and adults.

Why the need, for example, for change in the language used in the missal? Why the emphasis on sacred language? Bishop Peter Elliott, auxilary bishop of Melbourne, writes:

But do we need a new translation of the Mass in English? Is the text we currently use not good enough?

No, it is not good enough because it is not particularly good — and “good enough” is not the way to describe the language we should use in the worship of God. The time has come to change because what we are using is not only often inaccurate as a translation, but the style of English is rather dull, banal, lacking in the dignity of language for worship, more like the language of a homily than a prayer. Adoremus Bulletin, Why We Need the New Translation of the Mass

Think about this. Is good enough ever good enough, when we speak of our worship of Our Lord?

If we pray with dignity, if we use words and phrases of dignity, that is to say, sacred, set apart, different phrases and not colloquial phrases ( And with your spirit; through my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault), won't this change the way we respond? From the use of every day phrases ( and Mass sometimes seeming akin to a second rate TV performance) to a respectful. reverent, dignified celebration.

Why is this so important? Why should how we pray at mass make a difference to our Faith, to what we believe and to how we act? To our relationship with Our Lord?

Again, to quote the Holy Father, there is a connection between how we worship and what we believe. A deep connection between action and belief.

The genuine believer, in every age, experiences in the liturgy the presence, the primacy and the work of God. It is "veritatis splendor" ("Sacramentum Caritatis," No. 35), nuptial event, foretaste of the new and definitive city and participation in it; it is link of creation and of redemption, open heaven above the earth of men, passage from the world to God; it is Easter, in the Cross and in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; it is the soul of Christian life, called to follow, to reconciliation that moves to fraternal charity......... The correspondence of the prayer of the Church (lex orandi) with the rule of the faith (lex credendi) molds the thought and the feelings of the Christian community, giving shape to the Church, Body of Christ and Temple of the Spirit. No human word can do without time, even when, as in the case of the liturgy, it constitutes a window that open beyond time. Hence, to give voice to a perennially valid reality calls for the wise balance of continuity and novelty, of tradition and actualization.Pope Benedict XVI Message to Italian Bishops

The new translation of the missal, then, can be a time for Catholics to renew their Faith, to reinforce their belief, to be brought closer to God, to a more perfect adoration of God, to live their Faith with knowledge and understanding, to make a difference within the world. Through their prayerful participation in the celebration of Holy Mass, the Divine public prayer of the Church, with respect of rubrics and of sacred language.


molly said...

standing ovation for you on this one0

Leonie said...

Aw, thank you, Molly!