Friday, August 09, 2013

The joy and beauty of the liturgical straightjacket

From the chapter on the missal in Martin Mosebach's Heresy of Formlessness:
Many people regard the rubrics as the most distinctive - and most problematical - feature of the old Missal. . . . . Rubricism stands for a liturgy where all subjectivism, all charismatic enthusiasm, all creative inventiveness has been condemned to silence. . . . Public prayer, not the prayer of the individual but of the Church's whole Mystical Body, possessed a binding quality that, in an atmosphere of emancipation from all pressure whatsoever, could be felt as a kind of dictatorship. Now, however, after more than a century of the destruction of forms in art, literature, architecture, politics, and religion, too, people are generally beginning to realize that loss of form - almost always- implies loss of content. . . . Formerly, seminarians learned rubrics so well they could perform them in their sleep. Just as pianists have to practice hard to acquire some technique that is initially a pure torture, but ultimately sounds like free improvisation, experienced celebrants used to move to and fro at the altar with consummate poise; the whole action poured forth as if from a single mold. These celebrants were not hemmed in by armor-plated rubrics, as it were: they floated on them as if on clouds.
Related - See also:Distantly related: Fr. Thomas Crean O.P., "A Saint in Heaven" (on Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.)

[Hat tip to JM]