And so, with all the Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Power of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim.
This should give us some indication of what kind of sight we need to be able to participate in the liturgy. We need the eyes of faith. There is a Christian hip-hop artist, who if he is not a Catholic certainly should be: “You gave me the stars, put them out of reach, and called me to waters just a little too deep. I have never been so aware of my need. It’s out of my league.”
From the beginning sign of the cross to the final blessing we have been taken to the foot of the cross and placed in the very center of the Christian mystery. All the saints and the immense courts of angelic beings gather together around this altar, there is an angel there whose sole responsibility is to assist the priest with this immense mystery as it is clear he cannot do it by himself.
St. John Chrysostom states, “when Mass is being celebrated the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” During the Mass when the priest turns toward the people, he turns toward the right, and then back to the altar by the left. At the Orate Frates, though, he makes a complete circle turn all the way to the right back to the altar, signifying in a small way that the door of heaven has been opened and now we are heading into the mystery which cannot be described with mere words and in fact descends into a holy silence.
Heaven is open; and we are in the presence of a great and awesome mystery.
So where is your mind? First of all, let me be honest. I know how difficult this is. Often I am left wondering what the h*** those ushers are doing back there! There is so much detail to our life, classes to teach, a sister who is sick, errands to run and people to call; and we brought all that with us. We bring everything to the Lord. But there must be a time to stop and let everything rest, and bask in the immense love of a Father who wants to come this close to us.
It’s out of our league, and this is why every moment is to be framed in prayer, and silence must reign in sacristies, and maybe even vestibules, so that we may regain the amazement that is so necessary to this celebration.