"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Worshipping with our hands and bodies

Al Kimel at Pontifications has a great post up that gives voice to what I've thought for a long time but have been afraid to say for fear of seeming the curmudgeon—now that I'm old enough to qualify for the label. Although, on the whole, I prefer a well-done Novus Ordo Mass to a Tridentine, the sad fact is that people don't cross and bow in the former the way they all used to do, and some once again do, in the latter. This "ritual inactivity" has always seemed sterile and boring to me, as to Al.

We need to bring back not only frequent crossings and bowings, which are traditional part-and-parcel of Eastern and Western liturgy, but breast-beating especially. I do some of all three, thus marking me off as a weirdo, of which I am proud. Ritual breast-beating, at the penitential rite but also at any of the frequent points during Mass when our sinfulness is mentioned, expresses the sense of sin in such a way as to help open us to the hope and glow of mercy. Come to think of it, perhaps that's why it has all but disappeared in the Novus Ordo. The sense of sin has become badly attenuated, so that people don't want to make a big deal out of sin at Mass any more than by going to confession. All the more reason to bring it back, and all the more explanation why it probably won't be brought back in the foreseeable future.
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