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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Eucharistic Fast, and other thoughts...

My prayer life has become weird and disjointed.
My liturgical and sacramental life, even more so.
(This is only to be expected, as my life in general is so in spades -- as Himself puts it, he has been living along the edges of a house, two houses, now.)

Saturday morning I received the Precious Blood for, IIRC, the first time in more than half a year. (Okay, I know that's not precisely true, when I communicate under one species I do receive Christ entire, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity -- but you know what I mean....)
I'm not sure how I "feel" about this, (not that my feelings are germane...)
But I've been thinking about it, since there's been so much to-ing and fro-ing in periodicals and the blogosphere about some American bishops who are re-ordering liturgical practice in their dioceses.
(I HATE that plural -- when I was about 22 I was only mildly buzzed at a party, and could not pronounce it to save my life, and was horribly embarrassed. I digress.... )

I don't actually care about the juridical basis of either side's position, and moreover, do not care to learn more, I accept whatever is the licit custom wherever I find myself.

I think I remember Bishop Trautman saying, on another matter, "this is not the liturgical ditch I choose to die in," and that about sums up my stance on communion under both species.

My new bishop, or at least his diocesan Office of Worship seems to neither promote nor encourage it.
(Yeah. I did it. I split that infinitive...)

The parish where I go most often never offers it, another does occasionally, but with, frankly, incompetent or untrained EMs. The cathedral itself, I think I may have complained of this before, had an EM who proffered the cup thusly, "The Blood of Christ, and Merry Christmas!" so I leave my opinion of the preparation of lay people there to your imagination.
(Oh, and whatever Himself may remember, I did not reply, "Amen, and bah, humbug")
All that said, I have missed It, longed for It, thirsted for It.

But here's the thing - maybe that's good.

For my entire sentient life, it has been a given that every Catholic over the age of six, at every Mass, receives.
Everyone. Every Mass.

Yet I know Catholics who routinely and casually miss Mass, and then routinely and casually receive. I know Catholics who claim there is no obligation to fast anymore, snack immediately before or even during Mass, and then receive. I know Catholics who have not made a confession in years, but receive.
As an adult I've learned that it's none of my business, but as a kid it bothered me immensely.

A few weeks ago I chose not to receive at a weekday Mass, and everyone in my immediate area began acting like a basket of puppies, turning in circles and seemingly unable to walk past me when I stepped aside and gestured to go on.
(And then of course staring at me to see if they needed to do CPR or something.... I mean, why else would that woman not take her obligatory place in the communion line?)

Do we, no, do I take receiving Communion, being privileged to receive Communion, too much for granted?
Do I presume on God's gracious gift?

Should the axiomatic "hunger is the best relish" apply to spiritual food as well as cheeseburgers?

Tangentially, I considered not receiving Sunday, (although freshly shriven,) because I am in the early, presumably contagious stages of an ugly cold.
But then I remembered that the chances of one of the priests accidentally making actually physical contact with my germy self were exactly nil. (PTL for the Canons Regular of St John Cantius.... oh, and for Mass celebrated by a priest whose writings interest me a great deal, and whom I never thought to see.)

I have always remembered reading in War and Peace, (I was young enough to have found both Pierre and Prince Andrei equally dreamy ;0P) of a penitent Natasha preparing, for a WEEK, to receive Communion.

It stuck with me, I found the Orthodox practice somewhat quaint -- yet compelling.
Should one fast not just for the Eucharist, but occasionally from?

Should I?

I don't know.

I believe, I HOPE, I will be back at my "homebase" a day or so before the much anticipated First Sunday of Advent -- before implementation.

I am sanguine... will priests who do not say the words of the Mass as now prescribed make the effort to get it right with the new translation?
One alters all the pronouns of the EP so that it is addressed to the assembly, and the Father is spoken of only in the third person.
Another freely sprinkles in "thees" and "thous", and adds all kinds of devotional prayers, ("Angel of God, my guardian dear...."? ) during Mass. Still another can't seem to say "The Lord be with you."

I'd like to think they will all do their best.
I am encouraged by something said quite a while ago by one noted blogger even though he might seem to be counted among the Resistance:

There is a place also to do our very best with a missal which isn’t perfect, but is, after all, what the Church is giving us. In fact, whenever I explain and sing the new chants in front of a group of people, I’m pulled into a real enthusiasm for sung liturgy.[emphasis supplied] I even start to get excited about the new missal.
Didn't there used to be an ad campaign, (I can't remember for what,) that went "Try it, you'll LIKE it"?

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