Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Transfiguration and the Pontificate of Benedict XVI



The papacy of Pope Benedict XVI is like the Transfiguration of the Lord. At the Transfiguration, our Lord manifested his glory as God's only begotten Son - that glory which lay hidden beneath the veil of his human nature. During his pontificate, the Holy Father unveiled for us the true glory of Catholic Liturgy - that glory which, for some time, lay hidden beneath much of the confusion that occurred after the 2nd Vatican Council. For some time, the liturgy seemed to be no more than just a social assembly, a fraternal meeting of members of the Church, a fellowship and even to some extent, a show that was meant to entertain. For some time, many members of the Church lost sight of the Supernatural in the Liturgy. The Holy Father unveiled for us the  true glory of Catholic Liturgy. He reminded us that Liturgy is not about us, but about God. He reminded us that Liturgy is not some project made by some committee but a gift that we have received from God. He reminded us that Liturgy is not an exchange of pleasantries between celebrant and people but rather, it is a procession towards the Lord. He taught us that Liturgy is seeking the face of the Lord. Indeed, in the illustrious pontificate of Benedict XVI, the glory of Christ's face was once again beheld through the Liturgy.

My only worry is that at the Transfiguration, the Lord gave his disciples only a brief glimpse of his hidden glory. Will the close of Benedict's papacy also hide again the glory of the Liturgy which shone for but a brief moment? As the radiance of Christ's face will later on disappear to give way to the blood, sweat and spittle of the passion, will the same happen to the Liturgy? Will the glory of the Liturgy be covered once again with human attempts to make it more man-oriented than God-oriented? Will Liturgy be once again a project subject to the tinkering of human committees? I hope not.

But should it happen, I am confident that just as the radiance of Christ's face will reappear on a permanent basis at the Resurrection, so also will the glory and radiance of the Liturgy be made manifest again at a time we do not know. How I wish that the glory of the Liturgy which was unveiled for us by the Holy Father should never fade! How  I wish that the Benedictine Reform continues! 

This gives us reason to pray and fast even more seriously for the election of the new Pope when the Holy Father abdicates from the papal throne. Like Queen Ester and Mordecai and the Jewish People, we should fast and pray as if our lives depended on it. May the Holy Spirit appoint a Pope who would show the splendor of the Liturgy even more. Let us pray and fast as if our lives depended on it!

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