I just read over at Reverend Know-it-all’s blog that he was sampling the traditional posture of offering the Mass Ad Orientem. [Sigh] How I miss the solemnity of the Ad Orientem liturgies of Holy Rosary Parish in Cedar, MI and Ave Maria Oratory, Ave Maria, FL!
It is so refreshing (uplifting, honest, directed, etc.) to have the priest facing the same direction as the congregation when he is addressing God. It only makes sense: face the people when you talk to the people; face God when you talk to God.
The good Reverend Know-it-all called it “one of the most beautiful experiences of [his] priestly life.” He also hinted at some big issues with Versus Populum (facing the people):
- How difficult it is to face a congregation of people and not address them when trying to address God the Father
- The temptation to be a performer instead of a priest
- The lack of any Vatican directive to face the people
If you haven’t experienced this before, or if someone lied to you and called it “the priest turning his back on the people,” I urge you to be open to it. See why Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
Wherever possible, we should definitely take up again the apostolic tradition of facing east, both in the building of churches and in the celebration of the liturgy.
Spirit of the Liturgy, p.70
Praying toward the East,