Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Video: Ad Orientem Worship: Why Facing God Matters

Brother Knights,

Blessed Eastertide greetings to everyone.

We are pleased to share the video of our latest webinar from last week entitled, Ad Orientem: Why Facing God Matters, with fellow Knight, Raymond de Souza. We were grateful for Brother Raymond’s time and thank those who joined us for the informative talk.

The video can be viewed here.

Brother Raymond masterfully laid out not only the liturgical basis for Ad Orientem, but the scriptural basis of facing God and East, from Adam to Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and concluding in the Book of the Apocalypse. Based on his remarks, we share some of them below:

Scriptural Resources for Ad Orientem worship

  • Adam and Eve: In a legend among the Jews, it is said that as Adam and Eve, after their expulsion from the paradise of Eden, they moved towards the West, the exile. But when they wanted to pray in the evening, to ask forgiveness for their sin, they turned toward the east, where the Paradise was, and said their prayers. Hence the tradition began.
  • Abraham: Later, Abraham pitched his tent on the eastern side of Bethel, and there he built an altar to the Lord, and called upon His name (Genesis 12:7–8).
  • Moses: In the desert, Moses built the tabernacle of the Lord at the eastern side of the camp, so, when the people turned toward the tabernacle to say their prayers, the whole camp faced the east (Numbers 3:38).
  • Isaiah: Isaiah prophesied that the Just One, the Messias, would come from the east (41:4–5). And Jeremias was called to proclaim the word of the Lord to the priests and to the people of Israel, from the eastern gate of the city.
  • Ezekiel:
    • But it was Ezekiel who spoke of the cherubim raising their wings at the eastern gate of the house of the Lord in Heaven. And he recounts that the glory of the God of Israel was over them at the eastern gate.
    • Ezekiel testifies that the spirit of God lifted him up and brought him to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which looks towards the rising of the sun (in the east) (11:1). And as the Lord brought him to the gate that looks toward the east, "Behold! The glory of the God of Israel came by way of the east and the earth shone with His Majesty (40:1–2).
    • He beheld the glory of the God of Israel coming in by way of the "east, and the majesty of the Lord came into the Temple by the eastern gate, and the house was filled with the glory of the Lord" (43:1–5).
    • “And he was brought to the eastern gate of the sanctuary, and it was shut, and the Lord said, this gate shall be shut and shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered in by it, and it shall be shut (44:1).
    • Ezekiel also says the priests shall offer to God holocausts and peace offerings, and he shall adore at the threshold of the eastern gate (46:1–2). We know that  Jesus came not to destroy, but to fulfil. We should take a hint.
  • New Testament & the Fatima Apparition:
    • In the New Testament, in the book of the Apocalypse, we learn about the angel - having the sign of the living God - ascending from the rising of the sun (the east) (Apocalypse 7:2).
    • Where did the Magi kings came from? The East. More recently, at the end of each apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, Lucia reported that she glided gently towards the east.

Additional Resources

Pope Pius XII: "It is neither wise nor praiseworthy to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device, thus one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish to the altar restored to its primitive table form."(Mediator Dei, No. 62).