Monday, March 7, 2011

Orientation in Jewish Prayer

An interesting article on the topic of Orientation of Prayer. In one of his talks, a famous Filipino liturgist claimed that the eastward direction of liturgical prayer is of pagan origin. This article says that we inherited from the Jews the custom of having a common liturgical direction. The Jews turned towards Jerusalem. We turn towards the east.

When I studied in the Graduate School of Liturgy in San Beda College, we went to a synagogue in Makati for a Sabbath service. The liturgical direction was so evident. Everybody faced Jerusalem. It was then that I started to question why we gave up the orientation of liturgical prayer. If it is true that we inherited our liturgical practices from the Jews, why do we not pray facing a common liturgical direction today? This is definitely a discontinuity not only from the tradition of the Apostles but also from the Jewish tradition which they keep to this very day.

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