Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Ritual Matters: Liturgy and Personality
But when I read Liturgy and Personality: The Healing Power of Formal Prayer the first time in the Sophia Institute Press edition, Latin in the liturgy was at its lowest point of usage in the Masses I attending. Monsignor William Carr at the Newman Center at WSU held a few Latin Masses in the Novus Ordo rite, but those may have been the only ones I'd ever attended. Now that I've attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Liturgy of the Roman Rite for about ten years since the 2007 issuance of Summorum Pontificum, however, re-reading von Hildebrand's study in the Hildebrand Project edition has a much greater impact.
that acknowledges the objectivity of being while exploring the human response to being. When we respond correctly to objective goods and truth and beauty, we will have personality. The Hildebrand Project provides a substantial sample where you can read his argument.
Von Hildebrand uses this response-to-value framework through Liturgy & Personality. Chapters 4 though 11 describe the objective values of the Roman Rite: the Spirit of Communion, the Spirit of Reverence, the Spirit of Response to Value, the Spirit of Awakenedness, the Spirit of Discretio, the Spirit of Continuity, the Organic Element, and the Classical Spirit of the Liturgy. Then in each of those chapters, citing examples from the Latin Liturgy of the Roman Rite--it was published first in German in 1933, so it's not exactly the Mass of the Missal of 1962--he describes how the Mass or the Breviary exemplifies those qualities. Von Hildebrand further explains why we won't always respond to them: because of some defect (sin) in our personality. Our egocentrism, isolation, concupiscence, narrowness, unconsciousness, etc., prevent us from responding to the great spirits and elements of the liturgy.
I presume he would have acknowledge that the same spirit and elements are present in the Eastern Rites of the Church, but what he knew of course was the Latin Rite. Dietrich von Hildebrand obviously attended Mass often and must have prayed the Breviary throughout the day. He is completely attuned to the Latin Rite.