Saturday, June 16, 2018

Anchoring and Centering Beyond Rhetoric

Brian has a great video here and almost effortlessly points to the urgency we Catholics have to put our whole house in order. For a man with both feet firmly planted on the Novus Ordo side of the mutual enrichment cause, he moves freely in a space which seeks God and His Kingdom through right worship above all else. I highly recommend this video.

For a man with both feet firmly planted on the Vetus Ordo side of the mutual enrichment cause and appealing for a 1962 or earlier reset as the only way forward toward a genuine organic development in matters liturgical, I was struck by the reading in today's office from St. Ambrose's Commentary on the Psalms:

I shall sing in spirit, and with understanding

What is more pleasing than a psalm? David expresses it well: Praise the Lord, for a song of praise is good: let there be praise of our God with gladness and grace. Yes, a psalm is a blessing on the lips of the people, a hymn in praise of God, the assembly’s homage, a general acclamation, a word that speaks for all, the voice of the Church, a confession of faith in song. It is the voice of complete assent, the joy of freedom, a cry of happiness, the echo of gladness. It soothes the temper, distracts from care, lightens the burden of sorrow. It is a source of security at night, a lesson in wisdom by day. It is a shield when we are afraid, a celebration of holiness, a vision of serenity, a promise of peace and harmony. It is like a lyre, evoking harmony from a blend of notes. Day begins to the music of a psalm. Day closes to the echo of a psalm.

  In a psalm, instruction vies with beauty. We sing for pleasure. We learn for our profit. What experience is not covered by a reading of the psalms? I come across the words: A song for the beloved, and I am aflame with desire for God’s love. I go through God’s revelation in all its beauty, the intimations of resurrection, the gifts of his promise. I learn to avoid sin. I see my mistake in feeling ashamed of repentance for my sins.

  What is a psalm but a musical instrument to give expression to all the virtues? The psalmist of old used it, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to make earth re-echo the music of heaven. He used the dead gut of strings to create harmony from a variety of notes, in order to send up to heaven the song of God’s praise. In doing so he taught us that we must first die to sin, and then create in our lives on earth a harmony through virtuous deeds, if the grace of our devotion is to reach up to the Lord.

  David thus taught us that we must sing an interior song of praise, like Saint Paul, who tells us: I shall pray in spirit, and also with understanding; I shall sing in spirit, and also with understanding. We must fashion our lives and shape our actions in the light of the things that are above. We must not allow pleasure to awaken bodily passions, which weigh our soul down instead of freeing it. The holy prophet told us that his songs of praise were to celebrate the freeing of his soul, when he said: I shall sing to you, God, on the Lyre, holy one of Israel; my lips will rejoice when I have sung to you, and my soul also, which you have set free.

Brian takes us to good taste and great art (our patrimony and God's due) and with St. Ambrose and choirs of saints, I would contend that first and foremost in the Psalms can we find voice for the Divine Praises. The Mass of All Ages in its proper setting of lived catechesis and prayer, even for the laity in preparation for full participation at the Holy Sacrifice, needs to complemented by a restoration of the Divine Office for those with that duty. 

I rather suspect that the argument about the old breviary being too burdensome can easily be countered by an honest confession of time wasted on TV and Internet (social media), which for clerics and religious could better be filled with psalmody, thus freeing the soul for God.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.