Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things I like about our local Melkite parish 4

 31. Children receive the Eucharist from the time of their baptism. As it was explained to me, we feed our children before they can understand nutrition so in the same way we nourish our children body and soul with the Eucharist before they can understand it.
32. Melkite Patriarchate is Petrine. Patriarch of the Melkites is the Patriarch of Antioch and the first Bishop of Antioch was St Peter before he went on to Rome.
33. A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise. I'm not sure exactly what this means, but I really like hearing it every Sunday.
34. Magnificat. Mary's canticle after the Annunciation is sung every Sunday during Orthros right before the Divine Liturgy. The cantor sings two or three lines of it at a time and the people sing the refrain in between: "More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, you, who without stain, did bear God the Word. You are truly Theotokos. We magnify you." I like that last sentence since the beginning of the Magnificat is Mary declaring that her soul magnifies the Lord. We magnify her who in turn magnifies the Lord.
35. Womb more spacious than the heavens. Mary's womb is sung as more spacious than the heavens because unlike the heavens it contained God within. I forget exactly when we sang this hymn but it is so amazing how much there is to reflect upon in its words (As compared to songs in Latin Rite churches like King of Glory, et al.). The emphasis is mine.
All of Creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
the angels in heaven and the race of men,
O sanctified temple and noetic paradise,
the glory of virgins, of whom God was incarnate
and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made thy body into a throne,
and thy womb more spacious than the heavens.

All of creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
Glory be to thee.
36. No holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. I'm not really sure why I don't like the holding of hands during this prayer, I just know that I don't like it and I much prefer that we hold our hands in the orans position.
37. Celebrating the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. I love this celebration of Mary going to the Temple. From the kontakion:
The most pure Temple of our holy Savior, and the most precious and bright bridal chamber, the Virgin, sacred treasury of the glory of God, openly appears today in the Temple of the Lord, bringing with her the grace of the Most Holy Spirit. Wherefore, the angels are singing: This is the heavenly Tabernacle!
38. Advent is a time of fasting. I've been told that Advent used to be a time of fasting in the Latin Church. I wonder why it still isn't? All the other major feast days have fasts leading up to them.
39. Troparions and Kontakions. We sing these songs which are specific to the feast, commemoration, and/or liturgical season instead of the same 10-15 songs that the choir chooses to sing from. It adds so much to the comtemplative nature of the Divine Liturgy and the catechesis of the people when the songs are all about the same thing as the readings, instead of just the same songs that the choir likes to sing from.
40. John the Forerunner. John, commonly referred to as John the Baptist, is called John the Forerunner. I like this change of perspective.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Barbara Schoeneberger said...

I love the Eastern Rite liturgies, many of which I own on CD. To me they are so passionate and declarative of the Faith along with intense mystery. And I've never been to one in person but the English translations of the prayers are gripping.

Now about the Latin Rite: I attend only the Extraordinary Form. The sacred liturgy is rarely offered in the manner in which it was intended. "King of Glory" is not representative of a proper liturgical hymn because it, well, isn't liturgical. At an Extraordinary Form High Mass, the choir sings the propers, and if Gregorian chant is used for the ordinary of the Mass, many people in the congregation sing along. If you ever get a chance to attend an Extraordinary Form High Mass you will find it quite different from the guitar strumming average parish Ordinary Form Mass. It will all be in Latin except when the priest goes to the pulpit and reads in the vernacular what he has just chanted for the Epistle and Gospel.

If I had access to an Eastern Rite where I live, I might become addicted to it because the prayers are so beautiful. Latin Rite prayers in the Extraordinary Form are also beautiful but in a different way.

Latin Rite Ordinary Form doesn't call for hand holding at the Our Father. The Congregation for Divine Worship has nixed it, but people still do it.

When I grew up, Advent was a time of fasting. Now we have 3 Ember Day fasts in Advent and the regular Friday fasts and abstinence that most of us Extraordinary Form people observe. Personal devotion always allows for fasts any time. I admire the Eastern Rites for formally maintaining the Advent fasts.

I really like your blog because I always learn something. The Melkite Rite has much to recommend itself.

Athanasis Contra Mundum said...

Barbara, I always appreciate your comments.
I have been to TLM Masses and I do really enjoy them. It does make me sad however that you can't find a traditional Mass in English, especially since my Latin is very poor.
I have no hard feelings for the Latin Rite, this series is I guess my way of expressing that I have found in the Byzantine Rite more than just a traditional liturgy in English. I feel like this has become my home. I no longer feel like a stranger visiting their parish, but more and more like this is where I belong.