Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Elegaically Written Understanding of 'Sacred Language'

This is good stuff:

For the power of liturgy to lift us out of our narrow practical and material pursuits is not dependent on our understanding of every actual word we are saying, any more than our emotional submission to classical music's soaring magic is dependent on our ability to read the score that produced it. The power of liturgy to stir and inspire us isn't even dependent on our commitment to the beliefs and doctrines from which the liturgy sprang.

[Damn, that's a GOOD point.]

I see the worship service as more about belonging than belief. An ancestral, globally employed language like Hebrew or Latin provides a context for predictable and organic communion amongst those present at the service. Through regular engagement, even though rote, with a universally recognized language, worshippers are subliminally imbued with a common motivational narrative from the past, common moral goals in the present and intimations of a common destiny in the future.

[Anyone recall the Communion of Saints?]

But the ancient language and music of the liturgy, which unite the individual with his fellows in the sanctuary's space, also unite the individual with the eternal idea of peoplehood -- those who came before and who will come after -- in time. Under the mesmeric sway of ancestral language, the finite moment is transcended through expressions of aspirational yearning (future), emotional attentiveness (present) and nostalgia (past) to fuse in what the philosopher Henri Bergson called "intentional time," when the worshipper achieves the spiritual peace that is conferred by timelessness.

Nope. NOT written by Pope B-16. NOT written by an SSPX theorist. NOT written by a Latin scholar, nor Old-Rite aficiando. NOT written by a nostalgic old lady with a few too many glasses of Chardonnay.

Written by a Jewish lady-staffer of the Canadian National Post.

HT: The New Liturgical Movement

2 comments:

rjp said...

Signs of change: at the 6.20 am Mass at SS. Peter and Paul this morning, here in GB, a newly ordained priest (about 6 months?) sang the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin!

Dad29 said...

Yah, hey.

At the local 8:15AM Mass, the preludes were (recorded, ugh)--Gregorian Chant from some monks.

Sadly, the otherwise orthodox priest forgot that Solemnities MUST have a Gloria and Credo...