Friday, April 10, 2009

Vos fugam capietis et ego vadam immolari pro vobis.

In the second responsory for the Office of Tenebrae, the words of Christ are, in the literal sense of the word, con-fused. They are fused together. Please do not mistake this for the usual meaning of confused, as in mixed-up. This is a masterful fusing together, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Sad is my soul unto death: stay ye here and watch with me; now ye shall see the mob that shall surround me: Ye all shall flee and leave me and I will go to be immolated for you. Behold, the hour is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the hands of sinners. Ye all shall flee and leave me and I will go to be immolated for you.
The Office of Tenebrae, as pointed out on the New Liturgical Movement, is one of the most ancient of all liturgical celebrations in the Church. The Divine Office in the Roman Breviary is stunningly beautiful and expressive of the very mysteries that are being celebrated. If, as NLM recounts, St Benedict thought the Office of Tenebrae to be too ancient to change, why did Msgr Bugnini and his collaborators have no such scruples? If the Liturgies go back to the time before Benedict of Nursia, and are so expressive of the mysteries, why were they completely done away with?
If the Office of Tenebrae is one of the liturgical celebrations that the faithful attended other than Mass, why mess with it? This is one of those questions that will continue to be unanswered until the Last Day.
Last night, before mine eyes, I saw the this antiphon lived out. By the time I got devested, all the "faithful" had fled and left Him. It is truly heart-rending. I have never in my life been in a parish where this happened. I didn't expect there to be a huge crowd, but at least a few? Perhaps I should have learnt my lesson from 40 Hours, when none of the English-speakers came.
Again today, after the Solemn Afternoon Liturgy, having received the monition from me that the Church asks us to genuflect to the Cross, and leave in silence, I would have expected people at least to wait until they left the church building before beginning their inane conversations. You would think that the Lord's Passion and Death had not just been recounted and liturgically celebrated. Please, people, try to keep you conversations like those of the disciples of the Lord on the way home from burying Him.

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