Friday, October 06, 2006

Eight Key Points: Part Two (Interactive Liturgy)

2. Out of every catholic church I had been to in my lifetime, I had yet to attend one where the learning process was interactive (i.e. bibles at each chair for others to follow along). Of course, this is purely a matter of taste.
I have two points regarding this.

First of all, I assert that the Mass is indeed interactive. "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 14; cf. 11, 19, 21, 27, 30, 41, 50, 79, 113, 114, 121, 124). As you can see, it's the main theme of the document! If you will read these paragraphs you will see how truly "interactive" the mass is. For example:
30. To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence.
Even listening is a form of active participation. When we listen to the readings of the Bible, we allow his Word to penetrate our minds and our hearts. When we listen to the priest give the homily, we intelligently receive his words and we come to see how the Gospel relates to our lives. We listen attentively for the bells that mark the coming of the Spirit upon the bread and wine to transform them into the Real Presence of Christ.

In fact, the mass appeals to every one of our senses. We hear the Word, and bells, and song. We see beautiful liturgical vestments that tell us something glorious is taking place here, and wonderful stained-glass windows that teach us salvation history. We smell incense, used to bless sacred objects (the cross, the bible, the altar) and to symbolize holy prayers rising up to heaven. We feel wooden pews and kneelers, which remind us that to worship the Lord is to make a sacrifice. We feel the peace of Christ in a handshake or a kiss. We taste bread and wine, which have become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

I dare say, there is nothing more interactive.

That said, we don't go to church so we can enjoy a "learning process that is interactive." We go to adore the Lord, to give him all praise and glory. Too many christians focus on what they are going to get out of it, so they shop around looking for the church with the best band, or grand stadiums with cushy chairs and laser-light shows that offer 50 million ministries for their members. The church is not a school, or a concert hall, or the YMCA. It is holy ground devoted to giving ourselves to God. The person who says, "mass is boring" really has no idea what is going on at all. I am occasionally moved to tears by the mass. You should have been too.

Now, on to your next point ...


Anonymous said...

Cool, Nick. I didn't know you had a blog. One more for the blogroll!

Theocoid (aka Technicoid aka Bill)

Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

excellent Post!
Yes, for those who say the Mass is boring (as I did when I left the church at 14 years of age) I failed to see Heaven come down before me on the altar. If you can't see Christ in the Eucharist and taste the blood and flesh, yes the Mass is a bore. Yes if you can't hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you in not one but three readings of the Holy Word, yes the Mass is boring, if when you enter the Sanctuary, the cool water splashed on your forehead via the signum crucis doesn't help you recall your baptism, the Mass is boring, when you can't realize that Heaven has opened and the priest in front of you is carrying out an act that has been passed down for 2000 years by the laying on of hands, yeah it's boring. When you miss the point that kneeling and standing is a sacred dance of our bodies responding to the real presence of God, I guess you could say it's boring. If you continue to compare Mass to MTV, popular media and music and a pep rally seeker friendly church, you probably continue to feel it is boring.
Sorry for the rant, it's my penance!

Joe said...

sorry to be curt in an effort to save time and space - But originally the "church" experience was much different - and only during the time of Constantine did it become a "boring" ceremony - the relationship that Jesus had with his Disciples is one rarely seen in ANY Religion - Catholic, Protestant, etc.. The need for more interactivity is a cry for a relationship one-on-one with Christ ON EARTH, if that's missing you can't blame a bunch of people meeting in a building - only the theology.

Joe said...

One more thing - don't people usually bring THEIR OWN Bibles to Church?

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