Thursday, February 4, 2010

On New Perspectives

Probably the most exciting part of my studies here and now is that my theological-liturgical understanding is in a state of constant flux. Not so much so that I have now ground to stand on, but that I am constantly learning and nuancing and reexamining.

I am now surrounded by people who know the liturgy thoroughly, love it deeply, and are rooted in tradition: and yet prefer the novus ordo.

This intrigues me (because it baffles me), especially because these are people whose scholarship I greatly respect.  I may or may not come to find myself in a similar position by the time I'm done here, but there is no doubt in my mind that I've got much to learn from this perspective during these two short years.

This weekend, for instance.  Denis suggested to me that people go through liturgical phases (admitting later that this theory was autobiographical in genesis):  First, they get fed up with the abuses at their local novus ordo parish, then they flee to their local traditional parish, but eventually they wise up and realize that there's a reason why people were trying to reform the Mass for so many centuries.

It was a challenging thought.  Certainly the EF Mass is far from perfect, but the OF Mass is at least as imperfect, albeit in different ways.

It took a few days of processing things, but I finally realized why Denis's above statement struck me as not quite right: because my life has followed a different path from his.  I did not flee to the EF Mass as a refuge from terrible novus ordos; I came to the EF Mass because I was attracted to its great beauty!  (All things considered, I've been extraordinarily fortunate in how few grave liturgical abuses I've been subjected to.)

So I have some problems to work through.  See, I trust Holy Mother Church when she says that there has been no rupture in the liturgy.  But I perceive (and feel) a rupture.  As I have learned and researched, I've been able to close some gaps, but others have opened further.  There are still a few elements of the novus ordo with which I am profoundly uncomfortable (less so in the experience of its liturgy than in the theological understanding thereof).

I am so blessed to have this opportunity to study the sacred liturgy.  And I will not stop until I understand this mysterious continuity between the rites.  And you lucky people get to come along for the ride.  Welcome.

Jesus, mitis et humilis corde, fac cor meum secundum cor tuum.

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