Friday, May 18, 2012
THE ASCENSION AND AD ORIENTEM
Did anyone catch it in the Communion Antiphon in yesterday's Ascension Thursday Mass?
"Sing ye to the Lord, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east, alleluia."
"Psallite Domino, qui ascendit super caelos caelorum ad Orientem, alleluia."
It occured to me some time ago, reflecting on the Ascension, that Christ, in a way, as He rises above and beyond them, "turns His back" towards His Apostles and faces them no more - the very "complaint" we hear from people concerning the Extraordinary Form. "Why does the priest turn his back to the people?"
Christ has gone ahead of us; He leads us forward and upward, to heaven. The one who leads must be in front of us, with his back to us. Not to cut us off, but rather to lead us on.
If someone were leading me to heaven, it is his back that I'd want to see, so that I can follow.
As someone once said, it's the back of the bus driver we want to see. To see him face us while the bus is moving is to make us fear for our safety.