Friday, March 21, 2008

Making Room for Light

Just wanted to offer something small for this Good Friday: a recollection of Pope Benedict of the celebrations of the Holy Triduum in his younger days:

For all of Holy Week, the windows of the church were covered by black coverings. Even in daytime, the church was shrouded in a darkness dense with mystery. But the instant the parish priest sang out the verse that announced "He is Risen!" the coverings were suddenly pulled back from the windows and a radiant light flooded into the entire church; it was the most impressive representation of the resurrection of Christ that I can imagine.

Darkness is certainly underutilized in today's liturgies, at least in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. It rather ruins any possibility for contrast with the rising light of the Risen Christ when the church is brightly lit from the moment one arrives.1

On similar themes:


1. Maybe pastors are afraid of liability if people stumble and fall? Maybe we should take a cue from the airlines and install aisle-path lighting.

Robert Moynihan, "The Pope's Plan," Columbia 87:4 (April 2007), 10-12 (12). See also Archived Online Chat with Robert Moynihan

Robert Moynihan, Let God's Light Shine Forth: The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI (Doubleday, 2005)


Anonymous said...

That's what I like so much about the East and West Orthodoxies. They have such rich traditions.

Aevo said...

Perhaps you should try a Vigil mass? Or do they not start them with the Church in near-complete darkness near you?