Sunday, February 28, 2010



"We are realizing more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence. It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action. We should expect the liturgy to give us a positive stillness that will restore us. Such stillness will not be just a pause, in which a thousand thoughts and desires assault us, but a time of recollection, giving us an inward peace, allowing us to draw breath and rediscover the one thing necessary, which we have forgotten. That is why silence cannot be simply "made", organized as if it were one activity among many. It is no accident that on all sides people are seeking techniques of meditation, a spirituality for emptying the mind. One of man's deepest needs is making its presence felt, a need that is manifestly not being met in our present form of the liturgy. For silence to be fruitful, as we have already said, it must not be just a pause in the action of the liturgy. No, it must be an integral part of the liturgical event." ( Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p 209)

This message is for any liturgical directors, those who chair liturgical committees, pastors, deacons, and anyone involved in the liturgy. It has become a matter of practice to fill every minute of Mass time when the priests is not praying, with music. At the very beginning of Mass we have the Penitential Rite. The priest will say "to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins." That is the cue for the musical director to hit it and go into the Kyrie. No pause, no time to call into mind our sinfulness just run right to the music. In my opinion that is ridiculous. This is the
Penitential Rite, no its is not a sacrament, but it is a time to remind ourselves that we all come to this altar with sinfulness. The message conveyed here is clear, "hey I don't have any sins, you must be talking about someone else." The non-absolutory nature of the penitential rite does not mean that venial sins are not forgiven during this rite; they are also forgiven by receiving Communion and by the other intercessory prayers of Mass. Another time when music detracts from the liturgy is after Communion. This is an extremely important time for reflection and prayer as we have just put into our bodies the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World. Can I get a few minutes of silence here? This is what Pope Benedict XVI is talking about. When you play music so much, it says the music is the more important part of the liturgy, the sacrifice of the Mass, including the Eucharist is secondary. That message is sent out to every one in that Church. Take your cue from John the Baptist, I must decrease, He must increase. Everyone involved with the liturgy should get a copy of and read The Spirit of the Liturgy just click on the link here.

Now continuing the subject of the Eucharist, let me say this. I have been receiving the Eucharist for over over 50 years. At times it has become something I have taken for granted. That is a grave mistake. The Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Catholic Christian's spiritual life" as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This Lent try to renew yourself to a deeper appreciation of what takes place when you receive the Eucharist. Meditate before and after receiving. I once told a priest that if we Catholics truly believed in the Real Presence as we should, we would knock the doors down of the church to get to Jesus Christ, the Living Waters, the path to Eternal Life.

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