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Monday, 26 January 2009

Beauty Amidst the Din

(I have some vague memory, which I will not pursue, that this author is someone I disagree with on something, or 'thingS fundamental, but i can't remember exactly what it is, or who he is, and as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.)

Inside Catholic as a piece called "How Beauty Can Renew the Catholic Church" that makes some wonderful points about where we need to put the emphasis, where we need to re-focus our attention and energies to renew the Church.
Apparently an earlier piece gave people the idea that he was, essentially, advocating what I think of as the Protestant Sacrament, elevating "Fellowship" as the highest value.

So what makes Catholics distinctive among other Christian groups? ...[papal primacy, universality , sacraments] Of the sacraments, our belief in the "real presence" of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist not only distinguishes us doctrinally but liturgically as well. When a Catholic comes to Mass, his expectation -- the one foremost in his mind -- should be this real encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. If this encounter with His presence lacks vibrancy -- if it has the ho-hum quality of required ritual -- then renewal is the antidote.

How is this vitality recovered? This is where I think the "logic" of being Catholic sends us on a different course than that followed by other faith groups. There is the tendency to assume this renewal should be summoned up from within, based upon prayer, rosaries, or some sort of spiritual exercises. These are all good to do, of course, but that leaves aside the most obvious place to look for renewal: the liturgy itself.
My only quibble is that he does not mention the (at least as common, IME,) failing in much current liturgical praxis, rather than "hum-drum" the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as conducted, is as rackety as a pep-rally, with as many added distractions as the mind of a catechist can invent.

I think I am beginning to see a point to the spirituality centered around contemplation of the Christ-child, of the Infant King, (which has always, not exactly puzzled me, as I didn't give it that much thought, more "escaped" me.) To really make our worship "vibrant" (though I despise that descriptor in common usage,) we need to zoom in on something, or rather, someone seemingly tiny, seemingly quiet, seemingly weak.

Him Whom all of creation cannot contain, in a space so small we can hardly see Him through the communion of saints and sinners gathered 'round.

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