How does one form a deacon, priest and bishop to celebrate the ars celebrandi of the sacred Liturgy? Being side-by-side these sacred ministers I am often scandalized by the lack of composure and gravitas in the praying of the Mass and other liturgical rites. Several priests and bishops I know are such poor celebrants of the Mass that I would argue that Mass celebrated so poorly does in fact lead others away from the Church’s worship. And let’s not even speak of the many deacons who have no clue and poor presence in the sanctuary! Two cardinals I’ve seen celebrate the Mass in their cathedrals have the habit of running down the isle and up the stairs into the sanctuary with evident exterior indication of what is about to happen. Another needs a seat belt in the cathedra. Is it too much to ask for beautiful gesture, beautiful music, beautiful words, beautiful art and architecture in the sacred Liturgy? Beauty and prayer also warms interpersonal relations!
The Byzantine Church honors many Old Testament prophets and holy people that the Church in the West recognizes but does not commemorate in the sacred Liturgy, though the Roman Martyrology noted the holy youths yesterday. I actually think we ought to honor the OT figures as saints in our Liturgy, but greater minds will have to make that decision. Being faithful to the Divine Office you’ll recall that we pray the Canticle of the Three Youths (Daniel 3:57-88; 56) at Lauds at Sunday I. The pertinent section of the canticle follows:
O Israel, bless the Lord. Priests of the Lord, bless the
Lord; Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord. Spirits and souls of the just,
bless the Lord; Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord. Hananiah, Azariah,
Mishael (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego), bless the Lord; Praise and exalt him above all forever. Let us bless
the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; Let us praise and exalt God above
all forever. Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven; Praiseworthy and
Happy New Liturgical Year for the Byzantine Church! Have a blessed 7519!!! The Byzantine Church understands this date to be the years since the creation of the world. A new liturgical year, a new beginning to give God glory, honor and praise!!!!