Wednesday, April 07, 2010

More on facing east: latent desire?

The following is derived from a thread on the Catholic Answers Forum. The regular text is from soflochristmas, the italics text is from other commenters, and the bold text at the end is from me.

My sister is the ONLY person in my family that has maintained a solid practice of her Catholic faith; probably because she's the only one with a family (two girls). She's at a very heterodox parish in Tampa but she at least attends Mass fairly regularly and my nieces are receiving the sacraments. ...

When I spoke with my sister on Sunday, she mentioned that she attended a "sunrise service on the beach". I was stunned because I was certain the Catholic Church on St. Anastasia island does NOT have such a service. She must have picked up on my "pause" and silence and she offered, "it wasn't a Catholic service...but....".

My heart sank. ... If my sister had a choice between receiving Christ in the Eucharist on the most holy day of the Christian calendar, or attending a "sunrise service on the beach", why would she choose one over the other? What is it about the "sunrise service on the beach" that would make her choose it over Christ in the Eucharist?

On another note why would one have a Easter service on a beach? What connection does the Resurrection of Christ at have to do with a beach in Florida? Were they there to glorify the Lord or just there to be in a really "neat" place?

Well, other than it's as far east as you can get (i.e., the first place the sun rises).

Look at that! People want to worship "in the east"! It's funny, but Catholics have been doing that for 2000 years. It's called worship ad orientem, facing the east. (Traditionally, the altar is at the eastern end of the church; this is still the standard, although it's not as common in the Latin Church as it is in the Eastern Churches.)

As Pope Benedict pointed out in a book he wrote back in the 80s, once upon a time church architecture was such that the light from the rising/risen sun would shine in through the eastern side of the church building during Mass in the morning. This allowed even the architecture and the sun to join in the worship of God. He called it a "cosmic liturgy".

How sad that we don't have that anymore in our Roman parishes and people have to walk out to the beach to try and satisfy that latent desire!

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