Saturday, June 27, 2009

The priest took 21 steps, but it was supposed to be 22!

I was reading a blog the other night and the commentator seemed very harsh and critical of Catholics. He was saying they are too liberal, they want a lot of changes in the church such as female ordination, they want to decrease the role of the priest, they want more lay participation, they want more ideas expressed at Mass, they want less dogma, etc. These are serious issues, surely, but we as Christians must also be careful not to automatically be critical of everything and to understand the essence of what's happening.

I believe it is important to notice liturgical abuses, but it is also possible to go overboard. While at Mass, we ought to be in a prayerful and contemplative state. We should listen attentively to the Word of God, and receive Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity with the proper reverence. This should be our main focus. Since this is our focus, we should not necessarily notice every detail of the rubrics. By focusing too much on possible abuses, we can detract from our real purpose, which is the worship of God.

It is good to sometimes remember that God wants to make himself accessible to us. He realizes that we are human and fallible and that sometimes people will do things wrong. But he does not want to exclude us from his sacraments. I've often said that extraordinary ministers of holy communion are overused. But I should focus on the fact that I am receiving Jesus Christ into my body at the time of communion. If all I notice is that I am being served by a lay person, I will lose the significance of the act. Or if I go to confession, perhaps the priest will hurry me along and I won't be able to say every sin. God understands this and offers absolution anyway.

I believe by acting with a high level of reverence and by following the guidelines and spirit of the Mass and other church events, more people would seek the Truth, but I also believe it goes against how we should act if we spend all our time noticing "issues".

Finally, let us remember that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to "bear wrongs patiently". That means we sometimes do not become upset or angry when something happens, but rather we "offer it up" to God. We may notice things we do not like, but we try to smile anyway, and act as loving as possible. It's like a saying I once heard, that people will not care how much you know until they know how much you care. We must always have love in our hearts before we try to correct someone's behavior. I need to remember this as much as anyone.

1 comment:

  1. Phil - you're a wise person. I am impressed with this blog entry. When we pay too much attention to liturgical differences,it detracts from the solemnity of Mass. While it is good to take note of these things, we should remember that they are not important. What is important is that we bring ourselves before God with a humble and adoring heart.

    Kellie Ann