An Observation or Two
  • Much is made of the relationship between Mass and the Passion, since it is a re-presentation of that Sacrifice. It is all true, of course.

    However, consider:

    -It is Sunday that is the primordial day of Eucharistic celebration, not Friday.
    -The most significant events of the Passion narrative for the Eucharist occurred in the evening. However, Mass was traditionally forbidden after noon, until the reign of Pius XII. The Resurrection was a morning event.
    -Ancient churches were oriented East to face the rising sun.
    -On the day of the Passion itself, Mass is not offered.

    Mass seems, therefore, to be the re-presentation of the Sacrifice in light of the Resurrection. Flooded, in fact, with that light.

    Often, I hear what seems to me a spurious argument for a certain flavor of sacred music: "Would you sing [x] at the Foot of the Cross?"

    It seems equally valid to ask, "Would you really sing *that* in the Empty Tomb?"

    The plainchant excels, to my ear, in containing both.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,265
    The Mass is not only a bloodless re-presentation of Calvary, but the entire Paschal Mystery we celebrate over the course of the Triduum, and is also a foretaste of the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb. If there is a historical touchstone from the original Triduum for the ritual, it's Emmaus combined with what happened in Jerusalem, as the realities of the Triduum penetrated the souls of the disciples (even so, lest we forget, it hadn't fully penetrated by the Ascension - Scripture notes that even then some still doubted - and it took Pentecost to overcome that*!).

    It is not a historical reenactment. So it does not "look like" (in ritual terms) a sequence of ritual moments from the Triduum, pace pious and even saintly efforts to draw allusions (they remain allusions, not syllogisms) to them. So, for example, for folks who insist that the Last Supper was "humble" in material terms and so our Masses must be likewise, they are engaging in a misplaced (and not necessarily well founded) historicism.

    * I've long been fond of Jean II Restout's massive painting of Pentecost for its theological angle - the women receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with composure and even serenity, the Apostles more with disturbed and profound reorientation - even trying to evade it:
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    It’s both.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,711
    And the Eastward orientation (which phrasing might be redundant) is eschatological, looking forward to that time when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

    There is also a kind of Incarnational aspect in the consecration of the elements; but even more in the reception of Holy Communion, when Christ, whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, dwells within our souls.

    So, one could say that the Mass is the entire life of Christ, from the Annunciation to the Apocalypse.
  • Carol
    Posts: 669
    This reminds me of a question my 92 year old mother asked me the other day when I sat with her. What is the difference between soul and spirit? I am grateful for all the answers I know will be forthcoming.
  • What is the difference between soul and spirit?
    Soul is the animating principle of the body, and there are three kinds: vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual or rational. We have the latter, animals have sensitive souls, and every other living thing visible to us has a vegetative soul. The intellectual or rational soul is spirit united to flesh. God the Father, the Holy Ghost, angels, demons, archangels, cherubim, etc. are spirits. God the Son assumed a human soul in the hypostatic union. My suspicion is that it would be incorrect to say that animals have spirits, but it is correct, at least in terms of scholastic theology, to say that they have souls (along with plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.).
    Thanked by 2Incardination Carol