As I’m preparing for the imminent arrival of my third child, this week is going to be rather busy! I’d like to share a reflection on another impending moment of imminent (liturgical) birth.
Aemiliana Löhr (who does not seem to have a wikipedia page; can someone please fix that while I’m in the hospital?) was a sister of the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Herstelle, Germany. She studied with Dom Odo Casel and was influenced by his insight that the participation in Christian mystery traditionally associated with the sacraments was also characteristic of the liturgical year.
Her works include numerous reflections on the texts, melodies, and actions of the liturgical year, explaining how they reveal the liturgy as simultaneously the action of the assembly, the Church, and Christ. Her two-volume work The Mass Through the Year, published in German in 1955 and translated into English in 1958, treats each Sunday in the liturgical year, every day of the Lenten season, and the newly revised (in 1955) Holy Week liturgies, as well as the octaves of Easter and Pentecost. Löhr’s liturgical theology is incredibly rich, and her love for the liturgy is contagious. May this foretaste of Easter keep you fed on the journey!
“While all stand and hold their burning candles, themselves lamps, in which Christ’s light glows, the deacon, in the white vestments of joy, goes up on to the ambo, and calls heaven and earth, and the whole people of God, to the festal celebration . . . . One must see and hear this, as it is now again possible to do, at night, the church dark, the press of people. First only the flame of the paschal candle . . . . Then at the third call of lumen Christi, the blazing up of the hundreds of candles in the hands of the people . . . . To have once heard and seen this, with the true childlikeness of heart which has kept the capacity to think in images and symbols, is to know the real Christian Pasch.”
Aemiliana Lohr, The Mass Through the Year, vol 2 (London: Longmans, Green 1958), page 46.