Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beauty in the Liturgy

This morning I dragged myself out of bed at 7AM after going to bed only six hours earlier, to bring Gabriela to sing in the schola at Missa del Angelis. Beauty in the liturgy has gone from a distant fond memory of my childhood, to an every other week reality. And I am going to see Pope Benedict in less that 2 weeks, to tell him how much I love him for making it happen. I still have to decide if the sign I'll be holding at Dunwoodie; "Thank you, Holy Father for Summorum Pontificum" will be in English, Latin or German.
Here is a wonderful article on this topic which tells us why we have to be so grateful for the rebirth of beautiful liturgies.
The spiritual beauty of the sacred liturgy transforms the lives of Catholics. Indeed, as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in an August 2002 message to Communion and Liberation, "The encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes." This spiritual beauty forms the Christlike heart in moral beauty. And when the spiritual beauty of the sacred liturgy has transformed a soul, man can then create things of beauty, such as art, architecture, poetry, and music.
This man-made beauty, formed by the beauty of Christ in the sacred liturgy, imitates the creative genius of God who gave this world an inherent natural beauty. When the beautiful and radiant face of Christ our Savior becomes the center of sacred worship, all creation longs to cry out with the psalmist: "Every work that He does is full of splendor and beauty" (see Ps. 111:3).
I was outside during part of the Mass, thanks to Christina's restlessness, and was fascinated to witness the magnetic impact that this Mass had on the congregation of St. Matthew's Church. Although the Mass is held in small chapel in the church complex, and not the main church, it is full to capacity, standing room only, with over 150 attendees. Not only that, but one by one, others entered the chapel after Mass had begun, drawn by the scent of incense, the heavenly chant, and the quiet reverence of those of us in the vestibule, who were straining to hear through a crack in the door. Beauty calls our souls out of the humdrum daily-ness of our existence towards heaven, raising our hearts to God effortlessly.
Thank you, Holy Father, for Summorum Pontificum!

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