Mass Ad Orientem

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Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation. As Catholics, there could be chances that either positive or negative confusion would float around. So what do we Catholics need to pay attention in our heart to act in charity in the Holy Spirit who teaches us through our reverent Cardinal?

1. Try to understand in the first place why Novus Ordo (the current Roman Catholic mass) is facing the audience.

One of the good sources can be found at https://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/SMADORVE.TXT

2. Understand that Liturgy has not been historically unchangeable.
In the Church, all liturgies can be changed at any time as long as the intention is for “progressive” purpose, approved by the Church and celebrated under a proper guidance of local bishops. It is almost always the case that all self-govern Churches in union with Roman Catholic Church has their own rights to perform such action as long as the pope agrees. The blessed apostles had understood clearly that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they were the first one ever who changed the Jewish worship to include Christ as their Torah and Body & Blood of Jesus as their unbloody sacrifice. The roman liturgy was not formally introduced as a document before probably St. Gregory the Great pontificate. It should also be noted for Roman Catholics that even in the roman Church, each diocese and countries celebrate the mass slightly different one from another as long as it conforms with the local bishop / eparch who is their shepherd. (Recall how St. James, St. Jude, St. Peter and all other apostles are instituting mass with different results, the same principle of obedience and power of bishops are exercised today), all priests (sub-bishop) need to follow the Church, and not invent their own liturgy.

3. Understand that Mass & all Liturgies are prayers worship & prayers between God and His people.
There are some members of the Church who have been incorrectly believing that Mass is a sacrifice between Priest and God alone, others believe that Liturgy is their prayers together with the Church without knowing where to position God other than the Eucharist, while another group might feel that it is between themselves and the priest who lead us to God. There are many different subconscious errors that occur that may cause the Church to take action (it is Her responsibility to teach rightly Her sheeps) and change the direction of priest from facing the East (Cross/Tabernacle/real east direction) to face the people to undo this damages.

4. Persona Christi is valid

regardless whatever rites you celebrate, St. Basil rite, St. James rite, St. Thomas rite, St. John Chrysostom rite, the latin tridentine rite, or novus ordo rite. So we should not fall into a confusion that when a priest is facing the east, people feel he is no longer both Christ & His servant on the altar. It must also be noted that all other Churches or traditionalist must not say that the rite contains error because it has abandoned thousand of years of tradition, which was not made by Christ Himself on earth anyway.

5. Good things for both sides,

there was a great increase in participation and attendance in the Church because the people have let their fear of unworthiness go away. There has been a declining respect in the Eucharist in many different levels because the mass has become more casual and sounds like a mere banquet between priest and congregations. The same impact may occur after this ad orientem change in the Roman Church that might affect people who have less appreciation of the sanctity of liturgy to better respect it, but there could be also some that might feel weird or not respected because “visible” pastoral where the priests can really look at them throughout the mass as a shepherd may fade away. It is also probably necessary to note that Churches who are not progressing might suffer from hardship to evangelize through missionaries or may not reflect the advancement of theological approach that is the latest, leaving the faithful unable to be present in front of God in the way suitable to help them face the current world heresies and hardships

6. How should we react?

We are the sheep of the Christ & His Church, we should taste the Liturgy to enter heavenly realm in any way the Church sees fit, and throw away our uneasiness, judgement or discomfort, because when we go to Church, we don’t come to pray together, but rather we worship God together in liturgical prayers, therefore it does not matter not to not understand Latin when attending tridentine mass as the priests are offering our prayers to the Lord, not to us, or it is okay not to understand arabic when attending an Antiochene liturgy, as long as the preachings and hopefully the reading are understood. Liturgy is meant to elevate our soul to heaven as a taste of heavenly Kingdom and also to get united in Christ by receiving His Body & Blood, and it is the task of the Mother Church to provide us with this experience so it could elevate our spirit to God in a perfect manner according to each situation.

7. What can we do?

Pray that all priests are obedient to their bishops & ultimately to our pope. This change is about pastoral and liturgical reform, not so much about dogma, so let’s pray that all Catholics can charitably accept his excellency’s recommendation, let’s pray for better Liturgies throughout the universal Church. Announce this good news, and try to live this change if it is formally get changed.

Good Friday Fulfillments Forgotten By Some Catholics

1. Jesus, An Actual Lamb, Lamb of God

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(Ex 12) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month will stand at the head of your calendar; you will reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every family must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a household is too small for a lamb, it along with its nearest neighbor will procure one, and apportion the lamb’s cost in proportion to the number of persons, according to what each household consumes. Your lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You will keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole community of Israel assembled, it will be slaughtered during the evening twilight.

Mark (14) On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of Nisan, as a passover lamb, waited there until the 14th of the month (Holy Thursday, 1st day of feast of unleavened bread), and had Himself slaughtered on the 1st Eucharistic Altar in a large upper room of a house, where He said, This is My Body & This is My Blood which will be given up for us. Let’s notice here Jesus did not bodily die on the PassOver, instead He died on Good Friday for another fulfillment yet it was in the “Passover Celebration” or rather (Eucharistic Celebration) that He wanted His Church to celebrate in remembrance of Him, just like the Jews celebrated the Passover to celebrate the Exodus of Israelites.

 

2. Jesus, a Non-Symbolic Sacrificial Sacraments vs. Symbolic Old Testament Sacrifices

The elders of the community shall lay their hands on the bull’s head before the LORD. When the bull has been slaughtered before the LORD, the anointed priest shall bring some of its blood into the tent of meeting, and dipping his finger in the blood, he shall sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, toward the veil. He shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

The blood of bull has no efficacy of their soul, it is because the Jews are keeping the law that God made them righteous, in Judeo-Christian religions, sacrifices means “giving up something for greater good”, in contrast to some other pagan and tribal practices where sacrifice means “to tame an angry god”, “to pay debt so we don’t owe god”, “an object for angry God to punish”, or many other non Christian views. Jesus wants Mercy, not Wrath.

Jesus came to be sacrificed to truly for all mankind, and His death DOES have a direct efficacy on us, His followers, to pay for our sins eternally. It is said to be common these days that Catholics are forgetting how they can enter heaven, but it was in the baptism that Jesus made us His Children and have the right to enter heaven, but in baptism we strongly confess that we are dead with Christ and allow His blood to come to cleanse us. In the Holy Communion His body & blood give us Life, an eternal life. In Sacrament of Confession, His blood was ministered once again for re-cleansing  just like a bull was sacrificed again each time Israel committed a sin.

(Psalm) The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all. He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.

(Zachariah) I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn

(Numbers) But you shall celebrate it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of that month during the evening twilight, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and not leaving any of it over till morning, nor breaking any of its bones, but observing all the statutes of the Passover.

Jesus leg was not broken, but pierced, everyone mourned over Him, even the angels in heaven. His bone was a true passover mean, for a passover lamb should be roasted in whole, not broken into pieces.

3. Jesus, The New Covenant / New Testament

Then, having sent young men of the Israelites to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls as communion offerings to the LORD, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar.Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will hear and do.” Then he took the blood and splashed it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”

As Moses splashed the Blood on the people in the Old Covenant, Jesus splashed His Blood over the earth in the New Covenant on Good Friday, it is in His Suffering, Death, Resurrection the New  that this new covenant covers. Each time we celebrate a non bloody Sacrifice (Eucharist) and take It  upon ourselves, we celebrate and reenact the New Covenant upon ourselves. Good Friday in itself also completes Holy Thursday.

4. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, Recreated Life

(1 Cor) For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life

(Romans) For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous

  1. Adam received and lost Life by disobedience, Jesus by obedience has become the source of Everlasting Life, it was not Jesus suffering that gave Him merit of Glory, it was His obedience and Love even unto death and such suffering that merit Him over all the universe.
  2. Adam welcomed death to the world in the garden of eden, Jesus destroy death by His own Death in the garden of Getsemani (when the resurrection comes).
  3. Adam the father of all fallen mankind, Jesus is the father of all Living & Reconciled mankind, though Jesus is the Owner of all living being in the first place.
  4. Adam’s blood invades the whole creatures, Jesus when pierced on the cross splashed Blood and Water (mix of both form Life) to all Creatures, including Adam, in our tradition, His blood and water from His stomach spilled at Golgotha and went down through soil, and touched the skull of Adam, who was buried underneath His cross.

5. Jesus Recreated the World

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters – Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.

On the first day of the week, palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem like God created and entered the world with all His triumph

On The 6th day : God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.

On the 6th day of the week, Friday, Jesus died on the very day mankind was created, His blood and water spilled on earth resurrected mankind once again on earth, the earth (and man) was recreated again spiritually.

On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. 

For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest,g that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and that the son of your maidservant and the resident alien may be refreshed.

On 7th days, Jesus completed the work He had been doing, He rested in a tomb from all the work he had undertaken.

catholicer.com

Christ’s Passion Relics in Rome

The original Scala Santa, also known as “Holy Stairway” is the staircase which Jesus ascended during His Passion while proceeding to Pilate’s pretorium.
On November 13, 1893, Pope Leo XIII granted that the faithful who ascend the steps of the Scala Santa on their knees, with a contrite heart, praying and meditating on Our Lord’s Passion, may gain an indulgence of three hundred days for each step. This indulgence is applicable towards the souls in Purgatory. (from : catholic.org)

If you go to Santa Croce a few blocks away from Scala Santa, you could see the relics of our Lord’s passion, the objects used to torture Him, and St. Thomas’ finger who had doubt of His resurrection.