Word Power

Given my general dread of the new missal’s implementation later this year, I noted with amusement how meaningful I found the judicious use of Latin in the Triduum services this past weekend.  One of my absolute favorite hymns on Holy Thursday during the washing rite is “Ubi Caritas et amor, deus ibi est.”  Where there is charity and love, there is God.  The verses are in English with the refrain in Latin.  The haunting chant of the “Pange Lingua” – Praise we Christ’s immortal body – accompanies the transferral of the Eucharist after communion; just the first verse was in Latin then the rest in English. It set a solemn tone for the movement into Good Friday.  During the confirmations on Holy Saturday, the congregational chant of “Veni Sancte Spiritus!” – Come, Holy Spirit!–makes palpable God’s presence in our midst.  There may be other instances, but these are the ones that stand out, accents that catch my attention and convey transcendence.  Lest there be a letdown after the Triduum’s liturgical feast, there’s a Greek word reminding us that Easter is more than a day.  “Mystagogia” specifically refers to the ongoing formation of the newly initiated, but all are invited to continue our education in the mysteries.

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