For various reasons I was late to Mass (OF, at Carmel, being the usual sung Votive of Our Lady of Mt Carmel) this morning. Foreseeing this, I had earlier read over the Mass of the day (EF, Our Lady on Saturday, Vultum tuum) down to the Gospel. It struck me how much better prepared I was, by the prayers of the EF, for the OF (at which I eventually arrived just in time for the Gospel, as it happened). Now that’s a “hybrid Mass” – EF first half, and OF second half! – indeed, the reverse of the awful “hybrid Mass” ordered by some bishops in recent decades, who mandated the OF Liturgy of the Word at the EF Mass (having attended it, I can assure readers it just doesn’t work).
I was struck by the beginning of the (EF) Gospel, being the account of the Adoration of the Shepherds (St Luke ii, 15b-20) from the Dawn Mass of Christmas:
In illo tempore: Pastores loquebantur ad invicem: Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis.
(At that time: The shepherds said to each other: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us behold this word that “has been made”, which the Lord hath shewn unto us.)
For in truth at that time I was running (festinans) to get to church, that is, to the mystic Bethlehem, “the House of Bread”, there to behold the “Verbum quod factum est” beneath the Sacramental veil, as the Lord hath shewn us (when He said, “Do this in commemoration of Me”), and indeed yet more marvellously to find and receive Him, before, like those shepherds, to the world I “returned, glorifying and praising God”.
This afternoon I fly to Melbourne, there to stay for a few days, before work resumes...