We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Who's yer buddy? Calling on the Lord.

Thesis: the Liturgy goes where our understanding of Jesus and the Holy Eucharist goes.

It seems that when the Mass becomes saturated with comments that speak of Jesus as our best buddy, or pretend that God is more one of the boys than He is the Lord of hosts, the more likely a lack of reverence for the Liturgy occupies the sanctuaries of our parishes.

If Jesus is understood to be Lord, and the Mass is understood to be the Sacrifice of Calvary, then the Liturgy is more likely to be celebrated in a reverent and dignified manner. Consequently, if the congregation and/or the priest treats Jesus like one of the bros at happy hour, and the Mass is treated like a buffet, then the more likely the Mass will be celebrated in a casual manner like a quick snack at a fastfood joint. The manner in which far too many people receive Holy Communion at our local parishes brings to mind people popping a breath mint in their mouths, which is to say they are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to act in a manner that acknowledges the nature of Holy Communion.

So, how about we start praying to the Lord of hosts, Jesus Christ, instead of blithely mouthing a few words in the direction of a sugarcoated caricature of our own making who reminds us of some tabloid celebrity whose wayward antics make it possible for some people to think they own him?

In the words borrowed from the Gloria, the Lord is to be praised, blessed, adored, glorified and given thanks to. We need homilies that identify the nature of the Mass and the act of Holy Communion and call people to a deeper relationship with the Eucharistic Lord. We need homilies that call us to our dignity in Christ. We do not need limp platitudes, pop psychology and reminiscences of Father's personal struggles. Tell us about the mysteries of the Faith! Preach the Gospel, not gossip.

So, just say 'no' to homilies that bring God down to earth. He has already come down to earth on His terms. That event is called the Incarnation. Wicked men tried to assassinate Him as an infant, and wicked forces tried to assassinate Him by crucifying Him. The risen Lord comes to meet us now in a particularly vulnerable way. Jesus returns in His resurrected flesh every Mass. Are we no different than those wicked men when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ—He Who has made Himself so vulnerable so we, mere creatures that we are, may receive Him, the Lord of the universe—in an unworthy and undignified manner?

When we pray the Mass we are present to Calvary. The Mass is Calvary made present. Time meets eternity. We are present to the brutal murder of the Lord. Do we, then, want to be counted among those who nailed Him to the Cross, or do we desire to be counted among His faithful Mother and Saint John who stood witness at His death? Are we among the faithful disciples who witnessed Jesus' resurrection, or are we among those unbelievers who persecute the Lord as Saul once did?

To receive Holy Communion on the tongue is to preserve the dignity of the Sacrament and to preserve our own dignity as children of God who love the Lord by adoring the Lord and receiving Him in a manner that acknowledges that He is, indeed, the Lord! If we so receive Him, we will be counted among the living.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.