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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Follow the Leader, i.e., the Shepherd

A few weeks ago my husband and I were in Colonial Beach and attended Sunday Mass at St. Elizabeth's. The priest, Fr. Vincent Bork, said Mass ad orientem. And, yes, that means he had his back to the people. It also means he was facing Jesus in the tabernacle and acting as a leader of the people. That makes complete sense to me.

We are called the Church Militant. What military leader goes into battle facing his troops? He doesn't. He leads. Was Moses in the desert walking backwards as he led the people toward the promised land? Of course not. If you hire a guide to lead you through a dangerous country do you want him to walk backwards?

Our priests are leaders, shepherds, and guides. There is something powerful in the image of the flock following the leader. I experienced that powerful image at St. Elizabeth's thanks to Fr. Bork. Here's the view of another priest making the case for ad orientem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It really makes my blood boil when some priest or person says that the priest used to "face the wall" in the Traditional Mass. In saying this they just show their ignorance. The traditional priest faced, and some still face, East, toward the cross of Jesus Christ, the light of the world and the Sun of God. The early Christian churches had the altar at the Eastern end of the sanctuary, so the priest not only faced Christ the Sun of God, but toward the rising sun to remind us that Christ was the light of the world and the creator of the sun. It is all in Pope Benedict's book that he wrote as Cardinal Ratzinger, "The Spirit of the Liturgy".