E HAVE TALKED a lot about the sad state of liturgy these days, and often cited absurd statements by liturgy “experts.” We’ve also mentioned a contradiction which has never been explained: an attempt on the one hand to restore liturgy to a “pristine” state of the 5th century, while on the other hand changing liturgy to attract “modern man.”
But what exactly is LITURGY anyway?
The easiest way I can explain is to consider reading the Passion. Have you ever heard pious Catholics (who have all the best intentions) pray the Passion like this?
But why is that wrong? After all, picco logic says that the Passion is a “narrative” and ought to be read dramatically.
True liturgy — authentic liturgy — is prayer. It is proclaiming to the universe, in a new time and space, the wondrous deeds of Jesus Christ, in the same manner the saints did. The Gospel is not read at Mass because we’ve never heard it before. Consider the 1962 Missal Gospel Reading for January 1st, which is but a single sentence! The public proclamation of scripture is an act of worship: it is not purely didactic, nor is it a make-believe drama that we must re-enact with emotion.
The video below shows us the proper “tone” for liturgy. It must be serious, joyful, sorrowful, glorious, simple, authentic, and proclaimed with beauty and humility.
By the way, “humility” doesn’t mean what the unqualified secular journalists think it means: humility is truth. Again: Humility is truth! A Franciscan priest first told me that in 1998, and he was absolutely correct … but I had to think about it for a while to understand.