Last week I republished in the bulletin the main reasons why we should celebrate the Mass “Ad Orientem”—that is: facing the East, all of us in the same direction, as many were saying to me they hadn’t seen it the first time. It wouldn’t all fit last week so here is the continuation.
When we face each other during Mass, we form a closed circle of communication in the temporal sphere that blocks out the eternal and supernatural, and this then explains the mistaken over emphasis on the “community” during Mass and not on the Lord and his redeeming Sacrifice. Evidence of this is the great number of our contemporary hymns that focus on us and not the Lord, (e. gr. “Gather us in” et al.). Pope Emeritus wrote about this extensively in his book, “The Spirit of the Liturgy”.
The priest facing the people actually reinforces bad clericalism, giving the priest the exalted status of “presider”. He unwittingly becomes the focus of the Mass and sadly many cannot resist the spotlight and feel the need to constantly innovate and reinvent the liturgy to satisfy their fans.
When we all face the same direction—East—in our prayer, we become united in our action and focus as the one mystical body of Christ we are called to be, with the priest as the head of that body leading the action, but all of the faithful like the other member of the body, make that action possible. Much more egalitarian and much less temptation or pressure on the priest to be a “star”.
Bishop Morlino has asked us in his letter of July 15, 2017 to begin celebrating the Mass, “Ad Orientem”. For these reasons and many more, we will soon begin to celebrate the Masses at our parish, “Ad Orientem”. Experience with this at my last parish, has shown it to be very edifying as it truly brings forth the meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
It has also been brought to my attention that there is a problem of negative gossiping going on in the parish. Obviously the 8th commandment forbids this and anyone who would consciously participate in this would violate the commandment. It would be great for all of us this week to read and reflect on Chapter 3 of the Letter of St. James, it sounds like a lot, but is really just 18 verses. It is very easy to complain and spread negative feelings and misinformation, in general to speak badly of others, situations or circumstances. However, it requires character and a well developed sense of righteousness to refuse to pass along such vile innuendo, and also to speak well of things. Nothing in this world is perfect, so we need to handle the short-comings through the proper channels so that they can be fixed by those who have the authority to do so, and then we need to broadcast all that is good. Positivity and goodness build; whereas, negativity and gossip divide and tear down. My father always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say—then say nothing at all.”