Saturday, March 31, 2007

Vertical vs. Horizontal part II

Last time I talked about how the Mass has two dimensions, vertical concentrated exclusively on God, horizontal as a community with "God in us."
Now I must admit from the outset that I have horizontal inclinations. I enjoy hearing the Mass in my native tongue. I like being able to say the creed in a language that I can understand, so that I can cognitively attest to what I believe.
But I also realize that those who talk about bringing "balance" to the Mass are missing the point. There should never be balance in the Mass. It should always be more about God than it is about us.
What many fail to realize, though, is that reform of the Mass predated Vatican 2. Many thinking members of the Church were already concerned that the Mass had become too vertical, that it was too much a prayer between the priest and God, with the rest of us unnecessary to the worship.
The alter boys would say, usually from rote, the parts that in centuries past all the people said.
The reform of the Mass was suppose to result in more scripture being read at Mass, and it did. It reintroduce practices, such as the responsorial psalm, which had been part of the Mass in the centuries before Trent, but had fallen out of use. It was intended that some of the Mass would be said in the vernacular, not that the use of Latin would be abandoned.
As often happens it seems that the reform went too far. The Mass became too horizontal. Somehow the fact that some things were changed caused some, many of them priests or other higher ranking celebrants, to believe that they had license to make their own changes to the Liturgy. Thankfully that period slowly seems to be ending.
We have a faith and a Church that measures its history in millennia. In such a time scale the Church can afford to be methodical in its actions. So what is the Church doing to ensure that they keep the horizontal without losing the all important vertical? What do you think?

No comments: