July 14, 2013

Ad Orientem

Whatever you want to think about ad orientem as a liturgical tradition, you have to admit that it's a concept well-embedded in the critical vocabulary of Christian spirituality.

From the De mysteriis of St. Ambrose in the Office of Readings today, on the rites of baptism:

"You entered to discern your adversary whom you thought to renounce and you turned toward the east [ad orientem]: for the one who renounces the devil, being converted to Christ, discerns Christ by a direct gaze."

Conversion turns us around; after discerning the pointlessness and misery of the false promises of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we turn around and face east, toward the dawn of the new creation that is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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