Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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A Brief Septuagesima Meditation

February 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The poet William Blake wrote the following in his poem “Auguries of Innocence“:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

When I read that, my first thought flew instantly to the Holy Mass. For Catholics, it really, truly is eternity in an hour. And I don’t say that sarcastically, implying that an hour feels like eternity, an eternity which drags on and on without reprieve. No, I mean it just the other way. The Mass is a reflection of the great Heavenly liturgy being played out in the company of all the saints and angels, so who wouldn’t want to experience an hour of this eternity?

Remember, the Mass ought to reflect timelessness, and not find itself fettered by whatever the most recent whim or fad may be. One of the beauties of Gregorian Chant is that it achieves this, and does so masterfully. When you listen to chant, there is no clear rhythm to which one may tap his foot or nod his head. It transcends time, literally, and is more indicative of the sighing of angels than the singing of man. It breathes, and conveys such emotions as can seldom be captured in the work of Haugen, Haas, Schutte, etc.

So when you are at Mass today, regardless as to whether or not you have chant to aid you in your efforts, try to latch on to the timelessness and transcendence of the liturgy. When you receive communion, you may indeed find yourself holding infinity in the palm of your hand. When you consume the host, your hour’s experience of eternity is brought to such absolute perfection, a perfection too often under-appreciated by those “called to the supper of the lamb.”

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2 Responses to “A Brief Septuagesima Meditation”

  1. avatar John says:

    One should not recive the host in the palm of your hand. …………

  2. avatar Gen says:

    Agreed. Alas, behold the tyranny of the “should.”


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