Thursday, December 22, 2005


I am probably preaching to the converted here, but I came across the following piece written by Fr Al Kimel, the former Episcopal priest and recent convert to Rome who is well known in these parts as the Pontificator. It was published on the web site of Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. While Roman Catholic, it has a lot to recommend itself to us.

“The ‘re-enchantment’ of the Catholic Liturgy”, declares Father Aidan Nichols, “is the single most urgent ecclesial need of our time”.

I like the use of the word enchant to describe the Divine Liturgy of the Church. I still vividly remember my first visit in June 1975 to St. Paul’s Church, K Street, in Washington, DC. I had just finished college. Earlier that year I had become a believing Christian. Upon returning to Washington, an old high school friend invited me to join him one Sunday at St. Paul’s. Solemn High Mass, with a visiting African bishop to administer Confirmation; solemn procession, with two thurifers; chanting, crossings, bowings, genuflections, incense -- all of this was completely new for me.

My only prior experience with the Lord’s Supper was as an addendum to the Methodist preaching service, with cubes of bread and shot-glasses of grape juice. Here was something utterly different. I was taken up into a sacred world. On that day I discovered the Eucharistic Christ. I was enchanted.

I found it possible to believe the Eucharistic promises of Christ because of the enchanting beauty and power of the Divine Liturgy that I experienced that first summer at St. Paul’s. I was enchanted into faith. I experienced the glories of heaven and thus came to know the truth of the Eucharist. I will always believe that the consecrated elements are truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And it is the liturgy that has sustained and generated my faith for the past thirty years.

Surely the Holy Eucharist should enchant us. The Divine Liturgy is nothing less than the presence of the coming Kingdom of God. By the Spirit we are lifted into the heavens in union with our Great High Priest. By the Spirit we are brought before the Throne of God and behold the glory of salvation. Whether we imagine the liturgy as our ascent into heaven or as the descent of heaven into our midst, what truly matters is the gracious presence of the Holy God in glory, love and beauty. Thus the psalmist sings: “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness”.

Read it all here:


J. Gordon Anderson said...

That is an urgent need. The best liturgy Rome seems to have to offer, besides the FSSP, is that which is seen on EWTN. And even that is not all that great!

LutherPunk said...

Most of the Roman liturgy I have experienced has been bad liturgy. I have oft said I will not swim the Tiber since it seems to offer no better liturgy or theology than we have in the Lutheran church.

Kimel's observations are good ones that all communions could share in. The new liturgical movements afoot in Anglican, Lutheran and Roman circles seek to undo a lot of the damage done in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Albion Land said...

Welcome to both St James the Average and to Lutherpunk, he of the inkspots.