Tuesday, January 20, 2009

what I've been up to

I woke up this morning and realized that I was actually dreaming about the rubrics of the Mass. That is because of a little project I've been working on. I am assembling a Lutheran Mass booklet, which will have several forms of Mass: English Low Mass, Latin Low Mass, English Sung Mass, Latin Sung Mass, prayers for preparation for Mass, thanksgiving after Mass, vesting prayers, and maybe another feature or two. The purpose, the reason, the occasion, for this endeavor, is that while I do not condemn what Paul McCain calls the "accepted worship resources" of the LCMS, such as the LSB (though of course I condemn aspects thereof), it is a plain truth that the LSB dropped the ball in its efforts to preserve the Common Service tradition in its "Setting Three." That is, traditionalists ought to have available to them a consistently traditional form of the traditional liturgy. It would also be very good to have a resource which will enable and encourage the increased celebration of Low Mass. The Mass settings in the hymn book at best must be adapted for such a purpose, and our churches and schools ought not be left guessing as to just how to do this. So I'm just about finished with this project.

(To be clear, it is in no way a missal. We could use one, and my friend, Deacon Muhlenbruch, has been talking about perhaps working on one. For such a development I pray.)

My prayer book project is just about ready for public eyes, but I am looking into getting it illustrated.

At my parish, we have been continuing to keep saints' feasts with the Holy Mass. The weekday morning Low Mass, as I have said before, is a wonderful evangelical practice, which more of our churches will surely be inspired to introduce as they see how the Spirit of God is working through it in the churches that use it. My pastor's practice in regard to the Low Mass is getting smother and smoother all the time, and I'm grateful that he's so willing to expand his liturgical practice in this regard. Last week, on the 13th we had the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, then on the 14th the Feast of Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, who fell asleep in 368. Yesterday, the 19th, we had the Feast of Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, & Abachum, who were martyred in 270. Tomorrow, the 21st, we will keep the Feast of Saint Agnes, a virgin who was martyred in 304.

I have also been busy with various other writing projects, all of which I wish I were not so behind on. And most of all, I have been shelving and selling books at the infamous Downtown Books, on the corner of Milwaukee & Wisconsin.

I have more on which to blog, but must do that later, perhaps tonight.

Until then, press on through this winter, and remember that there is much to be enjoyed even in winter. I'm even thinking I'd like to go ice skating down at Red Arrow Park before winter is over.


Fr. Stephens said...

Wonderful news, Latif! I've often started, and then stalled, on such projects myself; so I look forward to your work. On a side note, I've re-introduced low mass during chapel here at the Academy.

Fr. Stephens said...

I posted in such haste, that I forgot to ask a question about this. What musical setting are you using for Sung Mass? The Common Service tones, or, hopefully, Gregorian?

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Fr. Stephens,
I'm very glad to hear of your practice for the faculty & children at the Academy. I recall reading William F. Buckley's book, Nearer, My God, in which he reminisces with great fondness upon the daily Mass he had to attend as a boy in boarding school. I think the weekday Mass can play a part in a child's life which will be impossible to overestimate.

Regarding your musical question, I am definitely planning it with gregorian music, but the question which nags me is whether I will also include the familiar Common Service music. I just might.

I'll share one example of what I'm discovering musically. The Kyrie comes in several possible gregorian settings, depending, at least in part, on the season of the year. Some are much more intricate than others. All are beautiful. Here at St. Stephens, we will actually be putting one or two of them into practice, maybe one for pennitential seasons, and one for the other times. We have a good musically inclined member, who will sing it for the congregation as a way of introducing it to them. So there is much progress going on.

Fr. Stephens said...

For what it's worth, might I suggest including both? I think the Common Service music is a good and salutary setting of the Mass, and it now enjoys a long use among our people. But at the same time, as historic western catholics, Gregorian chant is our musical heritage. I think including both would encourage a wider use...and even interest those unfamiliar with Gregorian to begin studying and learning it. For what it's worth.

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I like your line of thought, Fr. Stephens. My vision of this book, musically, has been evolving. At first I was thinking of just including the Common Service music, with some Gregorian settings thrown in as options. The more I have studied the Gregorian music of the Mass, and have pondered the matter, the more I am now leaning toward a full complement of both types.

So as usual I start a project, and then it snowballs. Therefore I think I may publish the Low Mass first, so that it doesn't get needlessly delayed.

gnesio-lutheran said...

My Roman Catholic friends and observers tell me that most attendees at traditional Latin Masses are not the elderly, but rather younger people who have known nothing but the banal Novus Ordo.

Luther was quite correct when he hoped that Latin would be retained in Evangelical Masses "for the sake of the young"

Michael said...

I would like to be informed when this mass book will be available. Such a resource is desperately needed.