Sunday, January 13, 2013

In principio

Hello, and welcome to my blog.  A blog like this is something I have been mulling around for some time, discerning how to best present a topic such as this--which is sadly contentious for so many.  

The Church in her tongue has brought us a wonderful axiom, lex orandi, lex credendi.  The Rule (usually rendered "Law") of praying is the Rule (or "Law") of believing.  I like the use of "rule" here, because it plays off the idea of a measure.  How we pray is really how we believe; how we pray and what we believe should measure up--they cannot do otherwise.

This means a couple of things.  First, it can mean that we will pray in a manner that shows our belief.  It's a pretty simple idea.  If I believe in a unicorn, I will probably pray to a unicorn for things that a unicorn can grant.  We would also, no doubt, say things in the manner or worship only worthy of a unicorn.

Second, though, is the idea that how we pray shapes what we believe.  If I have never prayed to the saints, but would like to know more about them, then praying the Litany of Saints will help me understand our intercessors in Heaven.  Similarly, if I want to understand just how great Our Lady is, then the Litany of the Blessed Virgin will shape how I understand her (wow, she is the refuge of sinners, queen of angels, and Ark of the Covenant...and more?).  Prayer is a great teacher.

In light of the second aspect, what is the highest prayer?  Well, as Pope St. Pius X said, the Mass is the Highest Prayer itself!  So the Mass, our Roman liturgy, must be the best teacher there is as to what we believe and how we are to worship God, who is worthy of the best and true worship.  

My goal is to show how the prayers in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are wonderful, beautiful, and rich with educational value in regards to who God is and how we are to believe, understand, and worship Him.  My goal is to show that every sign of the cross and every genuflection in the Mass are of great value and are not useless repetition.

Also, my goal is to show that it is not simply Latin, ad orientem, etc that makes the TLM great--these are simply trappings to the prayers themselves.  So it's not just about taking the Ordinary Form and celebrating it with Latin.  The Extraordinary Form actually is different in the prayers.

My goal is not to proclaim that the Mass of Pope Paul VI is invalid or illicit, because it is not.  My goal is also not to pit the Mass of Pope St. Pius V against the Mass of Pope Paul VI; the intrinsic merit for both is the same, as both offer up the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Father (you can search for an article by Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP, if you are interested in this perspective).  In any case, can we say that some are of Pius, and that others are of Paul (cf 1 Corinthians 3)?  Absolutely not.  This is why I will refrain from even comparing the two unless particularly pertinent to do so.

Too often it appears that the Mass of Pope Paul VI must be attacked for any apparent or implied deficiencies, that it isn't what Sacrosanctum Concilium called for, is rife with or allows abuses by default, etc.  This is not the place for that discussion.  Rather, it is a place where the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Mass of the Saints, its beauty, and its extrinsic merits can stand on their own, and let its God-gifted glory shine like a city on a hill, and not be hidden under a bushel.  

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, ora pro nobis.
St. Joseph, ora pro nobis.
St. Isaac of Syria, ora pro nobis.

*p.s. Yes, I realize lex orandi, lex credendi is more commonly translated as "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief".

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