So recently I was given a little bit of influencing power over the St. Stans Facebook page...
Not that much but now I am activly involved with the content being shared.
Either sometime later today or tomorrow morning St. Stans Facebook will feature a new series of posts entitled "Extraordinary Questions". The purpose of these posts will be to explore real honest questions put forth by people within and without Our Holy Mother touching mostly on topics related to the traditional teachings and practices. Below you will find the unedited (soon to be for the actual posting) first post. I hope you enjoy and I will likely post them all here as time goes on too.
Why is the Eucharistic prayer of consecration silent to those in the nave?
I would first like to thank you all for sending in the questions for our “Extraordinary Questions” posts.
Our first question is related to the prayer of consecration over the host and the chalice. Specifically it was asked why can’t people not in the sanctuary hear what is being said like how it is done in the Ordinary Form?
This is a fantastic question and there is much to be said on the matter. It should first be noted that the prayer is not said to us as if it was a prayer of intercession seeking our help in return. Instead, the prayer is specifically said with its direction being made toward the host. When the priest says “This is My Body” he is speaking to the host and the substance (the breadness, for lack of a better term) is transformed into the literal body of Christ, while the accidents (taste and texture of what was once bread) remain. Thus it can be stated that the consecration prayer can be said in a very low tone because the purpose of it is not for our understanding, rather it is for transubstantiation to take effect.
There is another aspect of the question that seems to be implied, that being why is there a sort of shielding or veiling of the words said from the people in church? Some people may object to the use of Latin or the near silent nature of the spoken prayer saying that when Christ died the temple veil was torn from top to bottom revealing the Holy of Holies, that was once reserved to only the high priest, was now afforded for all to see.
To this it should be remembered that we veil that which is Holy. Whether it is the tabernacle which is veiled with the cloth in front or the women’s head with a hat or mantilla, that which is set apart for God is veiled. When Moses went up on the mountain to talk with God he was so affected by seeing the Lord that his face was shining with the Glory of God (Exodus 34:35). The Jewish people seeing such a wonder asked him to veil himself and he did so. So too Latin and perceived silence act as a type of veil in the west, while the iconostases veils the prayers among the Eastern Rite Catholics. In both ancient rites the veil of silence to those assisting at the liturgy is observed.
Our modern day focus on needing to have our senses fulfilled in-order to participate in the sacred can best be re-ordered by hearing the story of Elias:
And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord over throwing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: the Lord is not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake: the Lord is not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire: the Lord is not in the fire, and after the fire a whistling of a gentle air. And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold a voice unto him, saying: What dost thou here, Elias? And he answered: With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have destroyed thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.”
Silence and gentleness is of God, who is Meek and Humble of Heart. Let us pray that we too may learn to be virtuous and submit our desires and wills to him daily.
Update: Its now up!
Update: Its now up!