Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Silent Canon

One of the many beauties of assisting at the Mass of St. Pius V is the majestic silence that one experiences when the Canon is being said by the Priest.  In the Mass of Bl. Paul VI, there are many options that one can utilize in place of the Canon and in fact the Canon is often neglected.  What one will hear mostly while attending the Ordinary Form is Eucharistic Prayer 2.  In my opinion, this is really unfortunate because the beauty of the Roman Canon cannot be matched.

In the Mass of St. Pius V, there is only one option and that is the Canon.  The Roman Canon is in perfect in every way.  The venerable Council of Trent, in the Twenty-Second Session (Chapter IV) states:

"And whereas it beseemeth, that holy things be administered in a holy manner, and of all holy things this sacrifice is the most holy; to the end that it might be worthily and reverently offered and received, the Catholic Church instituted, many years ago, the sacred Canon, so pure from every error, that nothing is contained therein which does not in the highest degree savour of a certain holiness and piety, and raise up unto God the minds of those that offer. For it is composed, out of the very words of the Lord, the traditions of the apostles, and the pious institutions also of holy pontiffs."

Now that I have shown the absolute superiority of the Roman Canon I want to get into the silence that accompanies it during the Holy Mass.  The Priest will say the Canon in a low voice so that those in the pews will not be able to hear it being recited.  This might strike some as odd but this practice is quite wonderful for many reasons.  To explain this mode of recitation, I will bring in an analogy.  When a virtuous man is with his wife at a restaurant, what tone will he utilize when communicating intimate words?  Unless he is a complete nutcase, he will lower his voice considerably.  The lower on the decibel scale, the higher on the intimacy scale.  This same experience can be seen in many different places as we journey through our lives.  Henceforth, at the Mass, does it not seem right that the most intimate part of the Liturgy would require a lower voice?

Another reason that the silence works well is that it allows those at the Mass to enter into the Sacrifice of Christ in their own way and at their own speed.  The Mass of St. Pius V is not fascistic, it does not force you to do any single thing at a particular time.  Thus, when the Canon is being said by the Priest, we can all go at our speeds.  It is the silence itself that allows us to mediate on Christ on his sufferings.  How can be at the Foot of the Cross with noise and words surrounding us?  That would be really hard!  

These are two of the many reasons of why (I think!) that Canon should said by a Priest in a low voice at the Holy Mass.  I hope that one day in the future, the Silent Canon will be an option in the Mass of Bl. Paul VI so that future generations will be introduced on the beauties that await the soul as it showers in silence.

Pray for me, a sinner.

15 April 2015

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