So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Being There. Life in the Mass.

The Eucharist, for the Catholic disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the forum in which we allow ourselves to be fed by God Who gives us the Body and Blood of Christ. We allow our hearts to be dressed in His grace.

Extraordinary Form (Usus Antiquior)
Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. (prayed three times)
Ordinary Form (Third Typical Edition)
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. (said/chanted once)
Divine Worship: The Missal (Anglican Ordinariate)
Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed. (prayed thrice)
How often do we desire in the midst of the Mass the silence in which to enter with our Lord to be guided by His Presence into a deeper communion with Him? Or, do we simply want to feel part of the gang, nab a little snack from the altar and then return to our comfy pews to carry on with a discussion about whatever profane topic we care to blather on about?

The Catholic world is, unfortunately, populated by folk who are highly enamoured with being liturgical busybodies. The Mass, the Ordinary Form, that is, has become a noisy place wherein distractions litter the Mass. The Mass has become a litter-gy.

It is fairly easy to understand why people do not find consolation or derive any kind of sustenance from the celebration of the Ordinary Form Mass as it is commonly conducted in most parishes. The typical OF Liturgy is bereft of the beauty of theological gesture, orthodox preaching, sacred music, beautiful art and architecture, and much needed silence through which God reaches the soul oriented to Him.

To approach God, we must unlearn our bad habits which either put God "out there" too far to reach or which reduce God to some permissive universalist nice guy who is indifferent to sin. Holy Mother Church has preserved the Penitential Rite of the Mass to enable us to appreciate that God loves us, and that He loves us too much to leave us stuck in sin. God is neither permissive nor indifferent toward injustice and sin.

God calls us into communion with Him. To approach the Eucharist, we must be in a state of grace. God has provided the Sacrament of Penance to free us of serious sinful baggage that keeps us distracted and unable to fully enter into communion and accept God's invitation to newness of life in Jesus Christ.

Humility, reverence, silence, docility to the Holy Spirit,... fasting, abstinence, almsgiving, prayer... these are the manners of a saint, a believer in Christ.

The Ordinary Form can only rarely, it seems, teach us liturgical manners, so-to-speak, because too many priests and lay-bullies are offended by the idea that the Mass must be celebrated with dignity and reverence so that God may increase and we may decrease. Too many music ministers and lay-popes do not want to decrease... in pride, arrogance, attachment to kitsch that attempts to pass for music, art and liturgy, and a comfortable ignorance. They find the practice of "manners" demeaning. The idea of becoming like a child (St. Matthew 18:3) does not really find a home in the heart of the "active participation" fanatic. They are simply too busy to let go of their attachment to a buffet mentality and an addiction to cheap, vulgar and crass quasi-liturgical bunk.

When the Mass is celebrated according to the mind of Christ and His Church, we learn the manners of a disciple. The heart fully formed in and by the Lord Jesus in His Liturgy becomes a liturgical heart able to embrace suffering and become bread for others so as to lead them to the Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ. The Mass, then, becomes lived and celebrated in the faithful disciple beyond the four walls of the parish church. The disciple, formed in the image of his Master, learns to walk in the way of the Holy Spirit throughout the day, stopping regularly if not continually to drink from the well of prayer, the wellspring of conversation with God by which the intellect, memory and will are informed and formed by grace.

You may, then, also consider reorienting your day to make room for prayer, prayer which opens your mind to the wisdom of God.

Ask yourself the questions: Am I capable of making time and finding a quiet place for prayer? Do my thoughts constantly turn to my smartphone out of an insatiable curiosity to know that I am worthy of another person's attention?

October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Can you find twenty minutes in your day to set aside your phone to pray one set of the mysteries?

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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.

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