Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On The Maronite Stuff

It was very interesting, and I'm glad we went. To answer the question posted below, this wasn't an actual Maronite church. Instead, it's a Roman church that usually hosts the Pauline Mass. There's a Maronite community there that gets there own liturgy every once in a while. This probably knocked the experience down a couple of pegs, as it was a very modern structure and not so much what an Eastern rite is meant for.

A few other observations:

This is the first traditional liturgy (which for reasons I'll describe next, might not be the best term) that I've been to where the majority of the congregation was significantly older than me and my family. And yes, a lot of them appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent.

"Latinized" is a misnomer. I don't know what you call it, maybe "westernization" or "modernization." If it was latinization, the priest would still be facing liturgical East, in other words, facing God and not the people. There were some other items like this in the music (non-chant hymns) and so forth. This was somewhat disappointing, but it's not like it ruined the whole thing. Of course, having only seen pictures and video of this liturgy, I don't know exactly how much was actually changed.

When they did sing the traditional music, it was quite beautiful.

The consecration was reason enough for making the trip.

On the same point, the consecration occurs very early (for lack of a better word). All kinds of stuff came afterwards ranging from the epiclesis to the intercessory prayers, so you had Jesus there for these things and an increased anticipation for actually receiving Him.

Maybe I was imagining things, but the Maronite liturgy seemed to focus a bit more on the hypostatic union than others I've seen. Whereas Eastern liturgies in general have the Trinity all over the place, this one seemed more specifically geared to the Incarnation. My favorite example:

You have united Your divinity with our humanity. You have joined Your Imortality with our mortality. You have taken what is ours and given us what is Yours for our life and salvation. . .

Which reminded me of this quote from St. Gregory Nazienzen:

What is not assumed is not deified.

Or something like that.

Anyways, if you have the chance to participate with our Maronite brothers and sisters in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, do so.

No comments: