Category Archives: Liturgy

Whether to Make a Sign of the Cross at the Penitential Rite in the Novus Ordo?

Some people make a sign of the Cross at the end of the Penitential Rite in the Novus Ordo, when the priest says, “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to life everlasting.”

I used to do this but have recently stopped doing so. Why?

In the Extraordinary form, the rubrics include a sign of the cross, but at what is clearly and explicitly a prayer of absolution. The priest prays for all, including himself, this prayer of absolution. He makes the sign of cross over us actively; we make it over ourselves receptively.

But the Novus Ordo has no prayer that is clearly and explicitly one of absolution. The EF in fact has both a prayer similar to the Novus Ordo prayer of petition. But the EF adds what the Novus Ordo does not have, an explicit and clear prayer of absolution. The rubrics at this very point call for a sign of the cross.

I have no settled opinion on the issue raised in the title of this post. However, I lean towards no sign of the cross. I do not believe that the rubrics of the Novus Ordo call for a sign of the cross. And I take it that the absence of a clear and explicit prayer of absolution is the absence of absolution. Here, I may be wrong. It may be that the priest is supposed to intend, and thus convey, an absolution with the words he does state. I incline to think he is not supposed to intend and convey this but simply to petition for it.

 

Kneeling while Receiving

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, has called on Catholics in the Roman Rite to kneel while receiving the Eucharist. His words,

“Where kneeling and genuflection have disappeared from the liturgy, they need to be restored, in particular for our reception of our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion.”

Now, this is not a common practice in Novus Ordo masses. In fact, it is almost non-existent. How to make the transition to kneeling? Is it not odd, strange, disruptive, for someone to kneel when no one else does? Perhaps. It certainly is different. Is there never a sense of self-righteousness by this ‘renovation of return’? Perhaps. But all this is beside the point. It may be odd for us to see at this moment, on account of ingrain habits which we put on but which a revolutionary change imposed in a non-organic way. And the transition may be odd.

Still, there are good reasons to kneel at the consecration. Above all, this is the Most Holy Lord, the Flesh of the Second Person of the Trinity, which we are about to receive. Kneeling is a gesture of worship, discipleship, total commitment, receptivity. It is a marvelous gesture, especially when the Lord of All is about to enter our hearts.

Yes, it is odd, difficult, to go from one common practice to a new one. But to do so in the matter of revolutionary rupture is violent. To do so in the manner of reconciliation and return is not violent. It will be odd to make the transition. First one person, then a few, then more. Eventually, perhaps, many. Finally, the practice of receiving while kneeling may  just return; it may just become common.

Who would have thought? I recall the treachery of certain fellow college students who tweaked the creed constantly, so that it might grown in their own image and likeness. They mocked it as it was. But then, suddenly, the new translation of the liturgy was given us English speakers, and behold: Few mock it. I have never seen it not embraced. Remarkable. In parishes in which no one kneeled at all (all but 10 years ago), now everyone kneels, twice. Remarkable.

Back to receiving while kneeling. In order for this transition to take place, we need heroes of change, good change. Who will be a fool for Christ? Allow himself to be considered rather clownish? Rather self-righteous? Out of place? Clueless? Odd? Perhaps even these judgments will not be entirely 100% mistaken. Nonetheless, and notwithstanding, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. (Or not perfectly, which is really what we are saying.)

THAT person is the one who catalyzes change, who moves history, and in this case… for the better. If he or she does it with great love, firm conviction, and knowledge of the rightness of the practice and the opportuneness of the reconciliation with Tradition, the opportuneness of overthrowing the revolutionary spirit, then that person will be the catalyst for good change. A true agent of reform.

Cardinal Sarah’s text is available here.

Phenomenology of Two Masses Part VIII

Today, I treat the Eucharistic prayers. Here, let us simply lay out the difference of content. Then we will reflect on difference in calling, on what the Mass asks of us. I have chosen the first part of the Eucharistic prayer; the second will be treated in another post. The Extraordinary form has one and the same canon for every Mass. The Ordinary Form offers typically four options. As all know, the second form is used most of the time, if not over 75% of the time. Hence, we will compare the Extraordinary form with the second Eucharistic prayer of the Ordinary form.

Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
We therefore, humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ; Thy Son, our Lord, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to accept and bless these ☩ gifts, these ☩ presents, these ☩ holy unspotted Sacrifices, which in the first place we offer Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church to which vouchsafe to grant peace, as also to preserve, unite, and govern it throughout the world, together with Thy servant Francis our Pope, and (name of Bishop) our Bishop, and all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall so that they may become for us the Body and + Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaidens, N. et N., and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known unto Thee, for whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves, their families and friends, for the redemption of their souls, for the health and salvation they hope for; and who now pay their vows to Thee, the everlasting, living and true God.
We pray in union with and honor the memory, especially of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Joseph, her Spouse,and of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family; and to dispose our days in Thy peace, preserve us from eternal damnation, and rank us in the number of Thine Elect. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Which oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects, to bless, ☩ approve, ☩ ratify, ☩ make worthy and acceptable; that it may be made for us the Body ☩ and Blood ☩ of Thy most beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven unto Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed ☩ it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this, for this is my body. At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.
In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands He takes the chalice in his left hand, and with his right he signs it with the Sign of the Cross. He blessed ☩ , and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and drink ye all of this, for this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith; which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. As often as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me. In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.The mystery of faith.

 

We may make the following observations.

First, there is but one sign of the cross in this part in the Novus Ordo. In the EF, there are at least 10 signings. I have removed the rubrics for each form; inclusion of the rubrics would highlight yet more differences.

Second, that the Mass is a sacrifice comes through with utter clarity in this part of the EF but only implicitly in this part of the OF.

Third, on the other hand, there is express petition for the sending of the Holy Spirit in the OF but no such express petition in the EF that I have found as yet here.

Fourth, a host of saints is expressly invoked here in the EF but none here in the OF.

Fifth, the EF offers express petitionary prayers for many, especially for the Holy Roman Church. None in the OF.

Sixth, in the EF the priest humbly begs God to have mercy and spare us from eternal damnation. No such prayer in the OF.

Seventh, in the EF Christ’s prayer is clearly oriented to the Father. It is clear that this is a sacrifice offered primarily for God’s glory; in the OF, that Christ is offering the Eucharist to the Father is only implicit (giving thanks).

Eighth, there is great and delicate piety in the EF. We hear of Christ’s “holy and venerable hands” and of his eyes lifted up to his Father and are thus invited to contemplate the royal tenderness of his Incarnation and fired to join him in gazing at God in prayer. This invitation is repeated with the consecration of the wine. I do not see this reflected in the OF.

Ninth, the EF draws attention to Christ’s “suffering,” whereas the OF draws attention to his “being betrayed”.

Tenth, the phrase “Mystery of faith” in the EF enjoys its traditional placement. The mystery is the true presence, not simply a doctrinal formula of resurrection and second coming. In the OF, the mystery targets historical events, crucial events to be sure, yet it notwithstanding as the ring more of a doctrinal formula than the present august mystery of Christ’s substantial presence.

Eleventh, the importance of the orthodox faith is stated in the EF but not in the OF.

Sunday at St. Peter’s in Lindsay, TX

On a weekend getaway with my family, I went to St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Lindsay, TX. An old German parish. Very beautiful, architecturally and artistically. The liturgy was beautiful too. I thought to myself, well this is a very reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo.

The thought also occurred to me that its beauty was in direct proportion to its approximation to the Extraordinary Form. Direct proportion.

Particulars? Well, obviously the structure of one Novus Ordo is that of any Novus Ordo. The notes of distinct reverence were as follows: Only altar boys, many altar boys well orchestrated with distinct tasks, incensing twice, a choir chanting the various parts of the Mass, a traditional high altar within a distinct sanctuary, etc. There was one feature, in my opinion helpful, that is not a part of the Extraordinary Form as yet, the readings read simply in the vernacular. The marvelous statues and stained glass didn’t hurt either.

The following day, I noticed the fine article by Cardinal Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Worship, posted (in translation) by Rorate.

At the end, there is this marvelous paragraph:

In this sense, it is necessary that those celebrating according to the “usus antiquior” do so without any spirit of opposition, and hence in the spirit of “Sacrosanctum concilium”. In the same way, it would be wrong to consider the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as deriving from another theology that is not the reformed liturgy. It would also be desirable that the Penitential Rite and the Offertory of the “usus antiquior” be inserted as an enclosure in the next edition of the Missal with the aim of stressing that the two liturgical reforms illuminate one another, in continuity and with no opposition.

A promise of development of the Novus Ordo towards the Extraordinary form, at least in two moments of the liturgy. Very hopeful indeed. And in harmony with Pope Benedict’s hope that the two forms of the liturgy fructify each other.

Phenomenology of Two Masses Part 7

Perhaps a reflection on Collects is less phenomenological and more descriptive. On the other hand, we can still speak about pointers in the Liturgy calling for different ways of being, i.e., assisting. We can speak of Being manifesting itself in different ways. Let us compare two sets of collects. I cite the EF from the fine site Divinum Officium.

 

Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
O, God, Who graciously chose blessed Pius as Supreme Pontiff, to crush the enemies of Your Church and to restore divine worship, grant that we may be guarded by his help and remain so steadfast in Your service that, having overcome the snares of all enemies, we may enjoy a lasting peace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Pius V: O God, who in your providence
raised up Pope saint Pius the Fifth in your Church
that the faith might be safeguarded
and more fitting worship be offered to you,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may participate in your mysteries
with lively faith and fruitful charity.
Through our lord Jesus Christ, your son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O God, Who endowed blessed Robert, Your Bishop and Doctor, with wondrous learning and virtue to repel the deceits of error and to defend the rights of the Apostolic See, grant, by his merits and intercession, that we may ever grow in love of truth and that the hearts of the erring may return to the unity of Your Church. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Bellarmine:O God, who adorned the Bishop saint Robert Bellarmine with wonderful learning and virtue
to vindicate the faith of your Church,
grant, through his intercession, that in the integrity of that same faith
your people may always find joy.
Through our lord Jesus Christ, your son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the holy spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

In the EF, we have a serious battle going on. Crushing. Enemies. Restoration. Snares. Enemies again. Supreme Pontiffs. Rights of the See. Errant hearts. Return to unity.

In the OF, we have true elements, but we have much less of a battle: safeguarding, vindicating, integrity. We have some additional elements, such as participation in the mysteries (always a marvelous thing to behold). But the battle imagery is almost completely gone. No mention of errant hearts. No mention of return.

Are there not a few good men who long for the days of battles, of knights, of fighting and conquest, of zeal for the house? It goes utterly without saying that this is a spiritual battle fought with the heart and not primarily with fists. (Although, if it came to that, we have St. Nick.)

Phenomenology of two Masses (Part VI)

In the EF, the priest does not go to the altar except after the following: the initial “In the name of the Father…”, the “Judge me O God, and distinguish my cause”, the first exchange with the server, a doxology, the two confessions (priest’s and servers’), the absolution, and a second exchange.

He then utters a pair of prayers. Let us hear these prayers:

1: Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies: through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Comment: once again the sanctuary that is within the sacred Church is distinguished from the Church. This distinction is reflected architecturally with the altar rail behind the priest and the high altar before the priest.

2. We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Saints, whose relics are here, and of all the Saints, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to forgive me all my sins. Amen.

Comment: Here, the priest speaks in the royal “we” and seeks forgiveness on himself. He is about to conduct the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

Finally, after all this preparatory work, the “Introit” is recited. This apparently has no parallel — at this moment in the liturgy — with the OF, but we can liken the “Entrance Antiphon” of the OF to it. Fortunately, some OF liturgies incorporate the Entrance Antiphon. (Some places even do so in Latin, intoned in Gregorian chant; it is quite lovely). Unfortunately, many OF liturgies involve some banal hymn written by the Catholic duo, Haugen and Haas, or “Hagen Daz” – (banal lyrics and awful tunes by and large). Or some other writer with atonal melodies (an oxymoron). It is always crucial, in sober analysis, to distinguish the official liturgy from the actual performances. The new English Translation has rectified the previous, quite defective, translation and thus helps one actually grasp the official liturgical prayer of the OF better.

The Introit is proper to the day and gears our minds to the readings to come or the saint commemorated.

There is then an exchange between priest and server in the thrice threefold Kyrie. I should like to return to the issue of the Holy Trinity at this point. It was noted in the comment box that the Introit itself often has a doxology (Gloria patri…). I would like to point out, again, the Trinitarian character of the Kyrie. It strikes one immediately, for there are three statements: Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. And each of these is said three times.

Nor is the observation superficial or extraneous. Each person of the Holy Trinity may be addressed as “Lord”. But only the second person is “Christ”. The instructional remarks in Missals indicate that each of the three persons is being addressed in the Kyrie. Each person is beseeched thrice, the second person in the middle three petitions: Christe eleison. Thus, the prayer is decidedly Trinitarian, following the organic development under Pope Gregory the Great.

Having grown up using the OF, I had always thought that we were addressing, in the Kyrie, simply the second person. That we did it three times for emphasis. And indeed it seems that that is exactly what the OF presents the Kyrie as, a prayer to the second person. That this is the case can be shown through examination of the longer version of the prayer. In the longer version, each statement is preceded by one of 8 possible prefatory remarks. For instance, in Option 1, we hear, for the first Kyrie, “You were sent to heal the contrite in heart”. Who was sent? Obviously, the second person! Yet these words preface the first “Lord have mercy”. And of course the second petition, Christe, is also addressed simply to the second person, and the prefatory remark understandably does as well: “You came to call sinners”. The prefatory remark at the third petition, Kyrie, is also Christo-centric: “You plead for us”. Thus, the Kyrie in the OF option 1 is decidedly not Trinitarian but Christo-centric. Option 2 is the same. Option 3 is the same. Option 4 is the same. Option 5 could be read as open to a Trinitarian reading, but likely is not. Option 6 is certainly Christo-centric and not Trinitarian, as are Options 7 and 8.

In short, the EF Kyrie is Trinitarian, while the OF Kyrie is not Trinitarian but Christo-centric. This is not a negligible difference. Why? We are called to have relationships with each of the persons of the Holy Trinity. This call is foregrounded when we address each person distinctly. It is true that in both the EF and the OF the prayer is most frequently directed to God the Father Almighty. This is as it should be, of course. The prayer is often through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That is a very Trinitarian structure; this Trinitarian structure follows the pattern of economic activity. For the Father is not sent; rather the Son and Spirit are sent. Both liturgies capture that economic pattern. (I will return to that in a future post. It is most certain that the OF captures that economic pattern; this claim requires no argument. I will also examine whether the EF captures that pattern, for that would be the concern that someone might raise.) Seldom in either liturgy do we directly address the Holy Spirit, but in the EF we do during the third set of three Kyrie petitions. Hence, the EF is also distinctively pneumatological in this moment.

Phenomenology of Two Masses: Part V

I would like to revisit the openings of the two forms of the Mass. The EF involves an undulating differentiation and participation between priest and congregation. The priest states, for the first time, “I will go in to the altar of God”.

Then he prays “Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.” Here, we are all reminded that the sacred space and action is just that—sacred. The world is not the cause and source of grace. Almighty God is, through his institutions wherein alone he promises grace to us. We are separating the sacred from the pro-fane.

After this marvelous prayer “Judica me”, priest and servers (whose voice is the people’s) exchange statements and prayers. The servers state, “I will go in to the altar of God.” Thus, the people are also included in the worship that goes on; they are differentiated from the priest and also shown as participants in his worship. Finally, the priest again recites the statement. Thus introibo ad altare Dei is said three times. A Trinitarian structure, completed just after an explicit Gloria Patri….

We see here the liturgy calling to our attention the differentiation and participation (communion) of priest and people.

The public confession is the same. First, the priest makes his confession to God. The servers (whose voice is the people’s) beseech that God forgive him. He replies, “Amen” to their prayer for him. Then, the servers (whose voice is the people’s) confess their sins to God. The priest beseeches that God forgive all the congregation other than he (vestri). Thus, the people pray for the priest, and the priest for the people. Finally, the priest commandingly issues an absolution for “our sins”, his and ours. A delicate duality of distinction and communion.

By contrast, in the OF there is no separation from the profane. It is as though there is a smooth transition from ordinary being in the world and official worship of God. There is no statement “I go in to the altar of God”. The nature of the worship as sacrifice is not brought out yet.

Next, all together, priest and people, confess to God their sins. The distinction of priest and people rests solely on the fact that the priest is leading the worship. Nor is there absolution.

If creativity involves distinction and order – and it does – then on the scores noted here the EF involves much more creativity than does the OF. The EF brings out both the mutual orientation of priest and people and also the qualitative distinction between them, both aspects constitutive of Catholic faith and reiterated at Vatican II (Lumen gentium, chap. 2).

Phenomenology of the Mass Part IV

A comparison of the Masses — Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form — for the Feast of All Souls, closely related to the funeral liturgies, looks similar.

 

Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
Offertory: O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell, and from the bottomless pit: deliver them from the Lion’s mouth, that hell swallow them not up, that they fall not into darkness: but let Michael the standard-bearer bring them into the holy light: Which thou didst promise of old unto Abraham, and his seed. V. We offer thee, O Lord, this sacrifice of prayer and praise: do thou receive it for the souls whose memory we this day recall: make them, O Lord, to pass from death unto life. Which thou didst promise of old unto Abraham and his seed. Prayer over the Offerings: Look favorably on our offerings, o Lord,
so that your departed servants
may be taken up into glory with your son,
in whose great mystery of love we are all united. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 

Or Option #2. Almighty and merciful God,
by means of these sacrificial offerings
wash away, we pray, in the Blood of Christ,
the sins of your departed servants,
for you purify unceasingly by your merciful forgiveness those you once cleansed in the waters of Baptism. Through Christ our lord.

 

Or Option #3. Receive, Lord, in your kindness,
the sacrificial offering we make
for all your servants who sleep in Christ, that, set free from the bonds of death
by this singular sacrifice,
they may merit eternal life.
Through Christ our lord.

 

Day of Wrath Sequence: Day of wrath and doom impending, David’s word with Sibyl’s blending, Heaven and earth in ashes ending. O what fear man’s bosom rendeth, when from heaven the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth. Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth through earth’s sepulchres it ringeth, all before the throne it bringeth. Death is struck, and nature quaking, all creation is awaking, to its judge an answer making. Lo, the book exactly worded, wherein all hath been recorded, thence shall judgment be awarded. When the judge his seat attaineth, and each hidden deed arraigneth…. To Thy right hand do Thou guide me. When the wicked are confounded, doomed to flames of woe unbounded, call me with thy saints surrounded. Low I kneel with heart’s submission, see, like ashes, my contrition, help me in my last condition. No Day of Wrath Sequence.

 

What we see with the two offertories is a stark contrast. The greatest contrast is between the EF and OF Option#1. The OF #1 simply prays that the offerings enable the soul to attain glory. This implicitly means what the EF explicitly brings out, but the entirety of that drama is explicitly absent in the OF. Option #2 brings in explicitly the issues of sin, cleansing, etc.. Thus, #2 is a stronger option than #1. Interestingly, sins are not explicitly brought up in the Offertory of the EF; rather, the EF prayer focuses on delivery from the consequences of sin, hell and the punishments of hell. Now, the EF is not contradicting Catholic dogma. If a soul is in the hell of the damned, in that hell it shall remain. But “hell” is a broad category, as we can clearly deduce from this prayer, in conversation with the dogma that from the hell of the damned no one is saved. Thus, we are brought to mind the very real possibility that the soul of our beloved friend may well be undergoing punishments dread and terrible – not without light and mercy, not without hope and joy, but nonetheless truly great. OF option #3 alludes to this consequence with “the bonds of death,” but does not draw this out dramatically.

In short, the EF asks us to enter into the dramatic situation quite possibly and in all likelihood actually facing our beloved departed. We engage that situation; we participate in it. We also engage the drama between Christ and the devil, our adversary. We acknowledge that the Eucharistic sacrifice is for the destruction of the devil’s work.

Furthermore, the Day of Wrath sequence invites each of us to call to mind our eternal fate, thus calling us to mind our lives presently. We are invited, in pastoral prudence, urgently to take stock of our lives and to amend our sinful ways, to repent, to go to confession. We are invited to live a life dramatically facing the Holy Trinity. We are invited to love God above all things; to seek earthly things not because they are attractive in themselves but in obedience to Christ. We are invited to see that “all is rubbish” that is not sought out of the sanctified will seeking Christ’s honor above all. We are not simply reminded, therefore, of mortal sin, but of venial sin and imperfections, etc. Of the “one thing necessary,” without which I am damned and all gain is loss.

Phenomenology of the Mass – Part III

Let us compare opening prayers at the Mass of the Dead.

The below exhibits that the EF truly regards everlasting penalty as a real possibility, urgently to be prayed against. It regards the pains of purgatory as urgently requiring our prayers, esp. that of Holy Mass, for the good of the deceased. The OF doe snot mention any penalty for sin, nor does it hint at the possibility of hell.

These two ways of praying call for, and thus beget, two ways of being. The one signaled in black, sober and unknowing about the fate of the deceased. The other signaled in white, quite optimistic about the fate of the deceased. The one imploring our prayers for dire possibilities. The other encouraging us to pray.

The difference is quite stark. How rosy things look in the OF, how light, unbearably light. The unbearable lightness of being. How serious in the EF.

And ironically, how “white not black” they look in the OF; how “grey, under the sign of black” in the EF. Indeed, the EF paints the extremes in black and white, and these are their true colors. But we do not know about this servant. We pray. We hope.

Look at the first Easter prayer of the OF. It is a prayer not for the soul but for us. For us! Indeed, we sometimes hear that the Funeral mass is primarily for the consolation of the pilgrims. NO! It is for the eternal rest of the deceased. And all the more, for the Glory of God!

Different ways of being!

Collect for Day of Burial: “God, for whom it is proper is ever to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee on behalf of the soul of Thy servant (handmaid) N…, whom Thou hast this day called out of the world, that Thou wouldst not deliver him (her) into the hands of the enemy, nor forget him (her) forever, but command that he (she) be taken up by Thy holy angels and borne to our home in paradise, that having put his (her) hope and trust in Thee, he (she) may not undergo the pains of hell, but may come to the possession of eternal joys. Through Our Lord….” An OF Collect outside Easter: “O God, almighty Father, our faith professes that your Son died and rose again; mercifully grant, that through this mystery your servant N. who has fallen asleep in Christ, may rejoice to rise again through him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Or this one: “O God, whose nature is always to forgive and to show mercy, we humbly implore you for your servant N, whom you have called to journey to you, and, since he hoped and believed in you, grant that he may be led to our true homeland to delight in its everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

Collect During Easter Season: “Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord: As our faith in your Son raised from the dead, is deepened, may our hope of resurrection for your departed servant N also find new strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy SPirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

Or: “O God, who through the ending of present things open up the beginning of things to come, grant, we pray, that the soul of your servant N. may be led by you to attain the inheritance of eternal redemption. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.