Ad Orientem: Are we really waiting for Christ's return? Let's hope so...
Let's make a simple case for Ad Orientem, and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
"For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life."
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"
"Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks."
[Let us be honest: when we are eagerly waiting, we are more likely to be facing the door, than sitting together facing each other. This sense of eagerness for Christ to return should be most relevant at Mass than any other times in our daily lives; for we are together as part of the Mystical Body of Christ. So why does the priest and the people need to face each other and not to the east? Has our sense of eagerness been lost for Christ's return? ]
Catechism of the Catholic Church
III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS
Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father
606 The Son of God, who came down "from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]",413 said on coming into the world, "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."414 From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father's plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work."415 The sacrifice of Jesus "for the sins of the whole world"416 expresses his loving communion with the Father. "The Father loves me, because I lay down my life", said the Lord, "[for] I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father."
[Yes - it's the offering of Christ TO the Father, NOT to us but for us. Notice with ad orientem we face "to" the Father (eastwards) not "to" the people. That is the focus - to the Father.
Too many people who do not like ad orientem say they want to see the priest, to see Christ. So if the priest is Christ would Christ not want to look to the Father? After all the offering is to the Father, not to us but for us.
So why is it not suitable for us to face along with Christ to the Father? Let us appreciate the Mass for what it really is - the offering of Christ to His Father, for our salvation. Appreciate the significance of Christ's love, His offering to His Father.]
If we are to wait, let us wait eagerly, and if we are to "look forward" (Nicene Creed), let us look forward to the east. If we are to celebrate Christ's glory, let it be the offering of Christ to His Father and not to us, but for us... Let us not look to each other but to the east, to the coming of Christ, to where God is.
Al: Catholic, learning and thankful.