Sunday, 24 February 2008

Facing West to reject Satan; facing East to welcome the Lord

I was able to take part in the parish retreat at St Benedict's Abbey parish, Ealing yesterday. The day was very well attended, by parishioners and people from other parts of London. The preacher for the day was Fr Paul Watson, Director of Maryvale Institute, Birmingham.

At one point during the day, Fr Paul reflected on Lent as a time of preparation for our renewal of our Baptism at Easter (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium n.109). He related an account that he had read of the celebration of the Easter vigil in the early Church. I have not checked out the source of this, but it is interesting nonetheless.

At the time of renewal of the Baptismal promises, Fr Paul described the people as turning to face towards the West to make their rejection of Satan. Looking towards where the Sun goes down allowing darkness to come, the people make their rejection of Satan:

Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?

Before continuing, Fr Paul described the people as "blowing" in the direction of the West. This Fr Paul described as being a bit like "blowing a raspberry" at the devil, though its real Liturgical significance is probably deeper.

The people then turned round to face the East, to face towards the Lord. They turned their back on darkness and looked towards the place where the Sun rises, the sign of the Resurrection (and of the second Coming) of the Lord. The second part of the Baptismal profession of faith was then made:

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty ...? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son ...? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church ....?

1 comment:

Rita said...

Thank you, this is useful symbolism for catechisis.