Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lex Orandi

After many years of not finding any physical prayer book suitable for devotions of individuals, families, and parishes, I finally got the bright idea to create my own. This blog is to express my intentions for the creation of this prayer book, as well as to solicit ideas for what it ought to contain. The book shall be respectful of the tradition of the Catholic Church, presenting traditional renderings of the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Seven Sorrows, etc. Nevertheless, in a spirit of continuity of tradition, and influenced by the forces behind the Vatican II, it is my intention to provide meditation texts from Scripture, and the Fathers of the Church, for these traditional devotions. I will certainly include a Scriptural Way of the Cross alongside that of St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Over the last two decades, the Holy Fathers John Paul II and Benedict XVI have worked strenuously to reassert awareness of the Church's Lex Credendi. This may especially be seen by the completion of The Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Compendium. I would recommend everyone have both of these.

Similarly, John Paul II sought to instill in everyone a great sense of the Lex Vivendi, the rule of living called for by the Gospel. This may be seen especially in his catecheses on the Theology of the Body.

In the present, and especially for the last decade or two, there has been a great movement especially toward strengthening the Lex Celebrandi, the rule of celebrating of the Church. As a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, was instrumental in giving life to this movement. Even now, he is supportive of those who hope to bring liturgical praxis into greater continuity with our tradition, respecting the authentic reforms called for by Vatican II while also allowing greater use of Extraordinary Form of the Mass of the Roman Rite, a priceless treasure we should never lose.

Among the reforms sought are restoring Gregorian Chant to having "pride of place," in the music of the liturgy, as the music proper to the liturgy. The work done at is essential to this work. Further, there has been a movement to a literal, richer, more poetic translation of the Roman Missal. At any rate, Latin teachers would no longer have to give our Mass translations a failing grade.

In the wake of these movements toward a greater enculturation, there remains the matter of the Lex Orandi, the rule of praying. John Paul II began much work in this direction, particularly with the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross. Starting in 1991, he created a new Scriptural Way of the Cross, also consisting of fourteen crosses as stations. In 2003, he authored the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. In this text, introduced the Luminous Mysteries to the traditional Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. Further, he advocated that, after announcing the mystery, that a text from Scripture be used for meditation, with the decade concluded with a Collect from the Liturgy.

In English, we need a prayer book that fully respects the great traditions of our Church and preserves the best of the older forms in their integrity. Also, we are in need of forms of these devotions drawing on the ancient wisdom of the Scriptures and the Patristic literature. This in no way disrespects the fruitful development of the Middle Ages, but rather seeks to breathe in the air that is ever ancient, and ever new.

Such is my project, and such is my endeavor to make some small contribution toward strengthening the Church's timeless Lex Orandi.

No comments:

Post a Comment