Monday, July 9, 2007

Christmas in July

Back in my emo phase, which involved writing lots of recusant poetry, shopping for black chapel veils, and listening to William Byrd in the dark, I often thought that this proclamation would never come. But fortunately that was just teenage idiocy, and now we can all party!

Papa Benedict, I just want to say...

Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

I think I wrote something about the Tridentine rite and poetic formation... ah yes. Here. Accounts from Seamus Heaney and Dana Gioia of their experience of the Latin Mass.

Here are a few reasons I love the TLM:

1. The silent Canon. There's something about the way the Sanctus opens like gates of bronze - with those urgent bells - and then everything passes through into Silence. It easily inspires reverence. The consecration is more startling when it finally comes.

2. The ad orientem posture. I like it when priest and people are all facing God in the same way. There's no way to make the mistake of thinking that the priest is just emoting to us and talking to us.

3. The prayers at the foot of the altar. They are beautiful. The refrain of And I will go in to the altar of God: to God Who giveth joy to my youth is very affecting. Look at the way it weaves through the prayer with such antiphonal grace.

4. The Last Gospel. It's just so right.

After forty years, a great many patient people are reaping their reward. I will leave you with something from Eliot's Ash Wednesday:

The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream....

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

(Photo credit: Fr. Z's
What Does the Prayer Really Say?)


dylan said...

Thank you for linking to the Heaney/Gioia post!

Sheila said...

Yes, those are some good reasons. I think one of my favorite things about the Latin Mass is the frequent appearance of the psalms in the prayers of the Mass: the prayers at the foot of the altar, I believe there's a psalm before communion ... *can't remember what this part is called ... decides to shut up before displaying any more of her ignorance*

In response to your question on my Hopkins post -- no, that biography of GMH is no good. I put more in the comment box on that post.

Erik Keilholtz said...

I agree with you on everything but Number One. I hate the silent canon. I would have the priest sing the canon.