Tuesday, May 22, 2012
There is a very good piece in the Herald on Ascension "Sunday" which has been linked to in various places, I agree with Fr Alexander Lucie Smith.
I must say that I felt this year this year the Ascension was particularly flat, we had the Proper chants, together with a couple of 19th century hymns, but actually it just seemed like just another Sunday in the latter part of Easter, the time when are rather looking forward to its end.
Maybe I have a particularly high theology of the Ascension, it is the last feast in the cycle of Christ's life, as Christmas or the Epiphany/Baptism are foreshadowed by the feast of the Annunciation, so the Ascension concludes the mysteries of the Christ's Resurrection, it is re-iteration of Easter and yet says something in addition.
The Ascension celebrates God becoming Man so that Man might become God, it is about the taking up of humanity into divinity - literally, in the words and imagery of the Gospel.
In the Extraordinary Form it is marked by the snuffing of the Paschal Candle, there is no such liturgical oddity in the Ordinary Form. There seems to be a need to make some special liturgical mark, the image of Christ being concealed in baroque cloud perhaps, or greater clouds of incense, something just to stop it being "Flat Sunday".
I agree with Fr ALS about the loss of a sense Sacred Time, I myself have written about the loss of the Novena and he is right about this as an act of secularisation, so too about how difficult it is correct such a foolish and destructive error, my words, he is more judicious.
The problem is that all the feasts that have been moved to Sunday become flat Sundays, we are a bit tired of Christmas by the time we get to the Sunday that Epiphany, and as for Corpus Christi in a big parish where First Communions are spread over a series of Sundays we are a bit bored with endless Masses that celebrate the Eucharist.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake