How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thy eyes are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within.
Thy lips are as a scarlet lace: and thy speech sweet. Thy cheeks are as a piece of a pomegranate, besides that which lieth hid within.—Song of Solomon 4:1a,3.
The Mass, too, has a face—the face of God. The face of God is beautiful to behold. God reveals His beautiful (awesome, glorious, majestic, terrifying) face in every beautifully written icon, in the face of every newborn baby, in the face of a bride and groom united in Christ at the altar of Christ, in the face of one who knows a happy death. God's face is revealed in the faces of His saints, especially in the faces of His glorious martyrs. God's face is seen in the face of Christ. The burial shroud of Turin, the shroud upon which the face of Christ is imprinted, reveals the face of God. That face, bruised and beaten, bloodied and broken, is the face of God. God reveals His face in every Mass.
And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads.—Revelation 22:4
Just as the altar is a sign for us of Christ the living stone, altar cloths are used "out of reverence for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord and the banquet that gives us his body and blood." By their beauty and form they add to the dignity of the altar in much the same way that vestments solemnly ornament the priests and sacred ministers.—Archdiocese of Boston.
The liturgy itself is being held hostage to a few people’s on-the-spot views of what the message should be and what should take place. A major aspect of the Mass, one that can make or break the entire point of the ritual, is being put in the hands of people who have little or no substantive guidance or basis for their decision-making. Moreover, their hymnals and magazines and liturgy publications encourage that very attitude.
- The identity or character of a particular liturgy is obscured when compositions not related to a particular liturgy's theme are substituted for the intended chant text.
- Musicians assume the authority to manipulate the content of the Mass. Rather than the Mass being something we receive, the Mass becomes something we take. Consequently, the Eucharist becomes something we take instead of something we are not worthy to receive but, by God's grace, we are invited to receive because God is merciful and desires communion with us.
How many Ordinary Form Masses have you witnessed at which were presented songs that spoke around, about or past God but didn't allow you to speak to Him? If your parish is like any in our diocese, such occasions would be a weekly occurrence.
- Mass becomes something where people talk about God but never enter into worship of God.
- Mass frequently becomes a spiritual pep-rally that shifts the focus to feeling good about ourselves but avoids thanking God for His saving grace and for His many blessings given to us.
- Mass becomes a time for fellowship between the guests, i.e., among the invited, while the Host, the Lord, is ignored.
Far too many "liturgists", music directors and priests are woefully ignorant as to the obligation to celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms which ensure that the Mass is truly a worthy effort to offer praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God. Not with cold or indifferent hearts should we orient ourselves to the truth, but with hearts and minds joyfully obedient to the norms which help us decrease so that Christ may increase. After all, Christ is the principal actor in the Mass. Jesus' Sacrifice is that which we enter into and which we receive, not something we constantly remake in our own image. We are to be configured to the Holy Eucharist which is the source and summit of the Christian life.