Tuesday, November 17, 2009
HABEMOS MISSALE ROMANUM!
Today, we watched history taking place: a singular moment in time, in a convergence of conflict, strife, unity and passion for Truth, in the ongoing struggle between humanity and divinity, of improper formation versus proper understanding of the liturgy. I'll never forget where I was in that moment.
While I watched this conference and the vote from my computer at work, I was brought back in time.....
The Council in Constantinople was overseen by Bishop St. Flavian (Bishop Flavius), back in 448 AD. His role was to defend the Faith against a serious Christological error being advanced by Eutyches, and indeed condemned it as heretical. Eutyches fought back and through the politics of the time, in 449 AD they were brought together again and St. Flavian, this time as a "party" and not presiding, made a profession of Faith and condemned the heretical errors of both Eutyches and Nestorius.
The battle continued, and in a very dramatic council, a false Council in Ephesus in August of 449. The heretics had taken control, and when St. Flavian and his supporters were sentenced to deposition, which was a condemnation of the Truth of the Church, a violation against the Faith. The Papal Legates (people who were acting in the role of the Pontiff and with his authority) protested, and a Deacon objected to the obvious violence of the heretics (for in general the heretics were prone to violence...we see nothing has changed in this age, either.) As the sentence began to be read, several bishops prostrated themselves asking him to go no further, trying to prevent the oncoming violence.
Dioscuros commanded the doors be opened and in streamed soldiers with clubs and other weapons. St. Flavian himself appealed to reason and to appeal from the Holy See in writing through the Papal Legates. Dioscuros was so incensed at this reasonable approach, the refusal of Flavius to kowtow to the violent objectives of the heretics, and his adherence to decency, logic, and diplomatic process that Dioscuros naturally had a violent reaction. He ordered his henchmen to cast St. Flavian to the ground, where he was beaten and trampled so severely that he died three days later. The Papal Legates fared better...one was beaten and unjustly imprisoned to prevent him from delivering St. Flavian's message to the Holy See. The other managed to flee after great difficulty and reveal to the Pontiff all that had occurred.
...Meanwhile, on November 17, 2009...
All of this was going through my head (what I could remember without looking it up) while watching the Bishop's debate today. Most of us who are plugged into the Catholic world via internet are familiar with the Bishops who tend towards dissent, and those who uphold Truth without compromise, and some that are theological squishy and hold the middle ground. We pray for them all, of course, but in all of it, we pray that the Holy Spirit act through them.
Today was no disappointment. It had all the drama of the past, but far less blood and guts. Today, in the course of an hour or so, all of which I was able to witness, I saw Truth, I saw betrayal, I saw political alignments and double-agents! I watched two particular Bishops, whom I expected to throw their lot in with Bishop "Catholics are stupid" Trautman step up to the plate and oppose him on his own ground!
I was so shocked I stopped working for awhile because I couldn't even FATHOM what I was seeing and hearing. There I was, a pen in one hand, a list of kid's names in another, a form in front of me...completely unnoticed.
History was happening. New alliances. Truth restored. A new translation far more faithful to the original Latin...restored. It has only to be moved to the Holy See for "Recognitio", the word for formal approval.
This moment was only slightly less important to me than the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and so I took stock of my surroundings. At that first moment, his election, I was in a pizza restaurant, the ONLY person among my co-workers who actually understood what was going on and REJOICED in it! Even the other proclaimed Catholics in my presence were utterly bored and had never heard of Cardinal Ratzinger or his importance to our Faith and to the world. Today, in this second moment, I was at work in a Catholic parish, realizing Bishop Serratelli might be speaking to ME and my future role in the promulgation of this new translation. I took stock of my surroundings, realized where I was as a parish employee, and was THRILLED at the thought I could help in this endeavor; both professionally and personally.
It saddens me that MOST Catholics probably don't care about the Liturgy or the development of it, and so don't have any idea of the import of what transpired today. It is the recognition that this historical event is going to go unnoticed by so many souls professing this Faith that makes me realize that it IS akin to the trampling of St. Flavian.
Closing Speech - Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Chairman of the Bishop's Committee on Divine Worship
God bless dear Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli whose words upon the acceptance of the new faithful translation of the Roman Missal by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) were like perfectly pure, cool water to this dry, dying soul in the desert of the translation of the Mass within which I've been living from birth. It is such a GRACE to be studying Liturgy and Sacraments this semester and be able to see, clearly, how much we suffer with the bad translation dealt to us, which itself denies the very things for which St. Flavian WAS MARTYRED!
That cool water, the words of triumph, LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI washed over me as I realized this had REALLY HAPPENED! Yes! the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief! Grace builds upon nature! If the Liturgy is unfaithful...then so are we! If the Liturgy is faithful...then so are we, and even more, we are made HOLY!
SALVATION IN THE PASCHAL MYSTERY, MORE FULLY REVEALED!
We all struggle with sin, and we need every mode to holiness we can find. The Liturgy is, in large part, how the canon of scripture was discerned and if we are not faithful to the Liturgy, we are not faithful to Christ, who comes to us, in Word and Sacrament, made present, drawing us ever closer to Him. Not as a symbol...but as a reality.
I can't contain my happiness at this new translation. I await with much prayer the Recognitio from the Holy See, and hope to be of assistance where I am needed in my particular state, to assist the Faithful in understanding these changes, why they were necessary, overdue, and the importance in our salvation.
Thank you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank you.
Bishop St. Flavian, Patron Saint of the Liturgy** Pray for us!
** (By my own personal designation, not that of the Church)