Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Adoration at Communion?

I think of the mission of the CMAA as a kind of new progressivism, always moving forward in a positive way.

A danger for all progressivist movements is the development of a complex of memes or tropes or canards that must-be-accepted by individuals in order that they might be accepted by the group. So far, it seems to me, the CMAA has largely escaped the groupthink that can become a kind of mandatory entrance fee to a group, insisting that everyone check his or her brain at the door. In fact, everyone I talk to at CMAA thinks differently about everything. And everyone seems to feel free to think freely in a forward, creative motion. There is weirdly little common ground. I suppose beauty and music are commonly held ideals--but those are not closely defined, and certainly not mandated. In most things, we are all over the map. Try to state something outside of dogma as though it were dogmatic, and you will hear someone else beg to differ. And in my view, this is all as it should be.

In that spirit, I would like to ask some help in forming my own opinions about a question I think is crucial for a hymn writer, and topical, given the Gospel texts of this summer. Is it appropriate, do you think, to express adoration at Mass, at Communion?

I believe that one of the primary liturgical questions of our day has to do with what I call "directionality." To whom is a prayer addressed? To whom, for example, was the Christ Has Died acclamation addressed? (No one.) But to Whom is the memorial acclamation in all other cases addressed? (Jesus Christ.) And a similar issue is at stake in many other issues, for example, ad orientem posture. 

At Communion, ought we be adoring the Blessed Sacrament, and if so, as Christ? Or through Christ (per ipsum) to the Triune? Do St. Thomas' great hymns to the Blessed Sacrament address the Blessed Sacrament in adoration? Certainly there is adoration. But Whom, and how, do we adore?