The Office, a Play, and the Preface

Three disjointed topics, but they came in rapid succession, so they're rolled into one post.

The Office

Seeking refuge from the Bugninization of the liturgy, I've resolved to find shelter the EF when necessary. Necessity strikes on 21st of this month. In the universal Church, that day is Ascension Thursday. Apparently, US Catholics can't be bothered to attend HDOs that fall on days other than Sunday, so we are forced to celebrate Ascension Thursday-Sunday (as I like to call it) on what is everywhere else the Seventh Sunday of Easter; here, Ascension Thursday is Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.

So in my, and all American, diocese(s), I cannot licitly maintain the proper chronology of the Ascension in the OF. Deo gratias, Pope Benedict XVI has clarified that we all have the right to use the EF however, without needing our Ordinary's permission. Further, the PCED has affirmed that while bishops may transfer the day of obligation for HDOs, "the legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books." I've resolved to use the EF for cases such as Ascension Thursday, the Octave of Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. For the Ascension and 7th Sunday of Easter I will this year have to attend OF Masses. (I'll be in SC and GA and the EF is hard to come by there, I'm finding.) But I can control my recitation of the Divine Office.

I'm teaching myself to say the Office in the older form. Fortunately, I've found a bilingual BR, which I can wade my way through. Trying to read and follow rubrics entirely in Latin is scary. It's a lot to take in even in English. But, I did manage to say None yesterday correctly. One of the more simple hours, yes, prob'ly the simplest next to Compline, but it's a start. I was proud of myself. I'll try my hand at Lauds and Vespers tomorrow, and see how it goes. I think the biggest challenge will be figuring out Matins. Coming from the Office of Readings, nocturns are rather weird. I have nearly three weeks though, and if it comes down to it, I'll find an FSSP priest and get him to teach me. By hook or by crook, this year I'm celebrating the Ascension when I ought!

A Play

Last night, I attended St John Vianney seminary's production of Viva Cristo Rey, by Cathal Gallagher and Fred Martinez. It is about the life of Bl Miguel Pro, a Mexican martyr of the 1920s. The show was very well done, as well as moving. One of the government officials underwent a conversion, and Fr Pro was a very inspiring priest. The show induced more laughter than was expected. My favourite comedic line, you ask? Here it is:
(Pro's father) Son, how did you know this already?

(Fr Miguel Pro) Father, I'm a Jesuit; Jesuits know everything.
Hi-larious, I tell you. I'm so glad the seminary puts on a show each spring.

I almost forgot...the play also struck me through a scene between Ana Maria (Miguel's sister) and Martha (the girl with whom Miguel's brother flirts). Ana Maria obviously doesn't want them to get together, and she wants her brother to follow Miguel into the priesthood. She tells Martha to stay away, that her brother doesn't need to be distracted by some girl. Of course, I was sitting next to Kelly this whole time. It made me feel a little guilty, but I think I am doing well enough with discernment. If nothing else I'm remaining open to the priesthood, not shutting myself to it. This whole thing may be rash judgement though. However, as I said, I'm remaining open to the priesthood. I still want to apply to the seminary this fall. Fr Crisman is supposed to say Mass next week, so I suppose we'll talk about it again. My fear is that the seminary will say they want me to wait another year, instead of yes or no. If they say wait, I'm going to want to forget about it and date Kelly. I feel that submitting the application is due diligence. With respect to discernment, I am fortunate to be surrounded by priests, seminarians and friends who are aware of what's going on in my life, as well as the fact that Kelly by no means wants to steal me from a religious vocation. I've not stopped praying, asking for my vocation. I think my vocation is safe, given all the factors.

The Preface

I don't know if it struck anyone else, but I wasn't expecting it when the Preface today said that Christ is the priest, victim, and altar for his sacrifice. Priest and victim I'm familiar enough with. But altar? It always seemed pretty clear that the cross was the altar for his sacrifice. I asked Fr Dwyer about it after Mass, and he explained it as being the idea that Christ was the support, or basis, for his own offering. Or something to that general effect; I'm sure my explanation has lost something of the way he explained it to me. But I had never thought of that before, and I figured I'd pass it on to you. Fr. went on to mention that the altar in the Church represents/symbolizes Christ; this is why the celebrant kisses and genuflects to the altar. I was familiar with that idea, so it helped a bit in understanding talking about Christ as the altar of his sacrifice. I'm still sceptical of genuflecting to the altar though. Another priest told me we should genuflect before getting in the pew even when the Sacrament isn't reserved, because we're genuflecting to the altar as well. But I'm genuflecting for Christ, so I haven't started genuflecting in chapels that don't have the Sacrament in them. I guess I could start using the left knee for the altar, but something's going to have to push me into that.

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