Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | April 11, 2008

Calvary made anamnesis I

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we as Catholics believe that Calvary is made anamnesis. Anamnesis is a Greek word that means to make something past, present, to remember (Lk 22, 19).

This fact is often mis-understood by Protestants to mean that Catholics re-sacrifice Christ on the altar. This is not the case. The Mass and the Sacrifice on Calvary are one in the same, in other words, they’re apart of the same action.

An interesting thing to note is that if you detailed look at the Mass you should be able to see the moment from Jesus riding into Jerusalem at Palm Sunday to the Resurrection at every Mass. This is what is meant by anamnesis that what is past is made present to us. This may help you to see why sacred music and all of the gestures that are associated with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are important.

When Father processes in what does that bring to mind for you?: How many of you call to mind the ride on the ass to Jerusalem? I’m sure that many of you don’t think about that during the procession. (Lk 19, 28-40). Yes, the procession with the crucified Christ is very important from a Theological perspective. It symbolizes the victory that Christ is going to have for us in the redemption of our sins.

CCC 559 states: How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jerusalem had always refused popular attempts to make him King, he chooses the time and prepares the details for hi messianic entry into the city of “his father David.” Acclaimed as son of David as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters hi City “riding on an ass.” Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. and so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the Shepard’s. Their acclimation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord,” is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover

The procession, we bow to the Crucifix as a sign of veneration of Christ coming into Jerusalem. Remember that the priest is acting in persona Christi or alter Christus. (Not becoming Jesus Christ, but acting in the person of Christ), hence the vestments which veil the personality of the priest and the priest is supposed to be clothed in Christ. In the GIRM (General Instructrion of the Roman Missal) 335 it says: In the Church, which is the Body of Christ, not all of the members have the same office. This variety of offices in the celebration of the Eucharist is shown outwardly by the diversity of sacred vestments, which should therefore be a sign of the office proper to each minister. At the same time, however, the sacred vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the sacred Action itself. It is appropriate that the vestments to be worn by priests and deacons, as well as those garments to be worn by lay ministers, be blessed according to the rte described in the Roman Ritual before they are put into liturgical use.

The fact that at some Churches the music is very rockish or popish to a major extent de-signifies the solemnity of this action. (Calvary being made anamnesis). One of the titles of Mary, Mother of God is Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows). Are we taking joy in watching our God suffer on his way to Calvary? we should not, as it is the sins of us that he is bearing for the redemption of the world. This is where the term Solemn Mass comes into play, why the term solemn? the word means serious, or to cause to give serious thought. As I’ll keep stressing Calvary is made anamnesis at Mass. We are supposed to be reflecting upon Calvary at the time of the Mass. Tell me, how does rock or pop music contribute to serious thought (in this case praise and worship music)?

The priest will then genuflect to the Tabernacle (or bow to the crucifix or altar if your Church has been wreckovated, or the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar isn’t present in the Church). What does this signify? Well, we all know that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil 2, 6-11)…(hence the bowing of the head of the priest at the name of Jesus). This action represents the adoration of the Lord present. Just like St. Mary Magdalen (the sinful woman in John 8), just as the demonic possessed guy in Mark 5. (Hence in last weeks lecture the A represented Adoration). The question is what part of Calvary can you think of people kneeling or genuflecting? (I’m sure St. John and St. Mary at the Cross, might help you to think of a couple of situations).

The priest then goes to kiss the altar (the altar of sacrifice). Keep in mind that the priest is also a victim in the Mass (again, acting in persona Christi). As this is the place where His body will be offered to God the Father.

The Mass then starts, we call to mind our sins and confess them in the Confiteor. The first station Jesus is sentenced by Pilate. The second station Jesus is given his Cross. Those two stations come to mind here. Our sins make up the weight of the Cross, and by this, the Cross gets heavier and heavier. Hence the Kyrie as we want God to have mercy on us for our sins.

So far from what we see, the reason Praise and Worship music doesn’t fit in the context of the Sacrifice of the Mass is simple: Calvary made anamnesis. Solemnity is the indication of the seriousness of the matter. The road down Calvary wasn’t Glorious, but Sorrowful, this is why we have Solemn worship, not Glorious worship..Amen!

Part II coming next week.


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