Mass is flabby and possibly obese
I met with a very special couple on Monday – Mary & Bill from Bishop’s Quarter near Ballyvaughan. They were joined by the First Lady Eileen from Baltinglass. Immediately I felt it was time to retire. This trio were ready and willing to take over the Church. I have had previous with this team. They were overwhelming in their faith and conviction. I felt so inadequate around them. I became instead the devil’s advocate! They are now very concerned for my spiritual welfare!
A dying breed:
That dangerous maverick Diarmuid Martin had upset them. He can do that rather often with his quite daring speeches. I wonder should he be retired from the mundane distractions of Administrations and let run free with those speeches? He wouldn’t have to cope then with the awkwardness of being expected to live out the consequences of such mighty words. The people from Bishop’s Quarters are very much on the side of Bishops which must be why they chose to live where they do. Nonetheless they were thrown by Diarmuid’s words: ‘Those attending Church now are a dying breed.’ I actually think he is right but I can understand why they might be disturbed. Isn’t it good that a bishop has the backbone to speak out and to stir us sometimes?
We then launched into a discussion on Confession. They were all for it. I was rather against it. Eileen was more inclined to get uptight about the clericalisation of everything. She felt that the ‘guru’ priest or ‘bishop’ always has to take over everything as if no one else had any experience or anything to offer. It rather sounded like the ‘divine right of kings.’ (Or priests or bishops or even men!)
My line on Confession was to accept that instead of advocating Confession that we needed to revamp the whole idea. We had made such a mess of the Sacrament with our ridiculous obsessions and sexual hang-ups. Augustine (from long ago) had some hang-ups himself but his idea of Confession was very much of the view that we come before God; to acknowledge the wonder of what God is doing and has done through us; humbly and in gratitude then to pray that we might let God work through us more and more; that we might be the ‘minister of grace’ that God intends us to be. ‘God delights in us’ (as the children sing). God is lavish. Is flahulach. Grace is graciousness; being touched by God.
God is missing but not missed:
And then I began to wander down the dirt-tracks and boreens of life. I spoke of the experience and the Reviews by the Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Team here in Rivermount, after the Christmas Celebrations. Everything was most reflective, celebratory and evocative. But the numbers overall were poor. In Diarmuid Martin’s words – ‘a dying breed.’ Or rather it seemed that most have actually died off. God clearly is missing in most people’s lives and definitely not missed. If Christ/God is not Celebrated at Christmas; our God is dead and with it any sense of Godliness has been buried in the dust of life.
We can find reasons or excuses or even blame. However, I think it is different. I think Faith hasn’t ever matured for many. It is childish. It is passive. It is irresponsible. And the ‘gurus’ were the supposed Responsible Adults or rather those who indulged themselves in that role. Is it any wonder we were called Father or Mother or My Lord? I also can even somewhat grasp why so many young fogies dress up as if they were escapees from an ecclesiastical museum. The smoke, the dress, the Latin mumbo jumbo creates an atmosphere of magic which has evaporated in the familiarity of present day attempts at Liturgy.
Mass is getting fat:
As we enjoyed our Nasi Goreng, we rambled into a dietary discussion. My outrageous summary was greeting with shock. I said Mass is obese. It is flabby. It lacks the right diet or hasn’t done appropriate exercise for too long. The New Missal sums it up. Clumsy. Ornate and archaic. Crispian Hollis, Thomas McMahon and John Crowley have come in with their ‘Apologia pro vita sua.’ They are right. Even if the rest of us were heretical when we said it. But now the ‘retired bishops’ are saying it even if the ‘active ones’ haven’t got that far yet. How is Mass obese?
Liturgy is very sophisticated:
Liturgy is a very grown up type of celebration. Much of Liturgy has evolved from the Monasteries. It has grown fat with the accretions of history. It has become something to endure or admire or look at. Despite all the changes of language; it can still be so passive as a Celebration. The dressed-up-man at the top orchestrates everything and but there is no Orchestra. All the members of the orchestra haven’t been given their instruments or called into song by the conductor. The congregations are ‘children’ (or treated as such) down there outside the rails even if the rails are gone. (At least here, there is congregational singing at every Mass and sharing. Many have the Magnificat and have prepared but not everyone. We all say the prayers together even the ones that are rubbish. We drop the Confiteor, Gloria and Creed – too many lumpy words).
Is it possible to pray at Mass?
Is Mass a prayer? Is God found at Mass? How many come ‘to get Mass’ rather than come with their own ‘story of faith’ and their own experience of God? I love Scripture. However, how many come to Mass and have thrown the life of their week, into the Readings? It is not possible to arrive and to listen to three Readings and make a home within them. The psychological reality is that there are too many words hurled at us. Any real psychology of praying is absent. There is no space for quiet; for sharing; for being still. There are two Collections dumped in the middle of it all. It is all a rush and a muddle. And then it needs to be over in 40 minutes or so. It is impossible.
Someone has to shout stop and strip off the accretions and reduce the Mass to its essentials and make space for God to speak and for us to be part of it. It is all noise and fuss and rush. Even the singing so often is done for us. I would think one Reading is as much as any of us can take. And then together we must help each other to relate it to life.
We come to Communion then – and is it Communion? There is another dangerous question. Burke et alia may wish to keep the divorced away from Communion; Francis wants to see our celebration as a field hospital. But if we don’t make room for the divine to touch us or make us conscious of each other quietly and peacefully; how can God break through? It becomes Holy Bread as the children call it rather than Communion. Augustine says that our Amen has to be made to those around us and has to make us conscious of a bigger world and others before we can Yes to Jesus Christ in Communion.
Grown up faith:
‘Those attending are a dying breed.’
Those poor unfortunates who dumped the Missal on us or who allowed the Missal to be foisted on us cannot have had any sense of what Liturgy is or what the Mass means. ‘God is missing and not missed.’ There now is the task and challenge for all Church people not to make Mass less boring or more entertaining but rather how to help that ‘dying breed’ to meet God when we come together. The others are lost. They have to become adult and find their own need for God or their own experience of God.
Blessing and anointing people in Baptism or in Holy Communion or in Confirmation or at Weddings will not do it. It is not that type of magic. We have to help people (and of course ourselves) in the noise of life to find the God who still speaks. It may not be in the thunder or the lightning or the earthquake (1 Kings 19) but rather the quiet breeze. Unless we can take off our shoes at the burning bush, no tinkering will cause it to happen. People have stopped coming to Mass because they haven’t met that bush (Ex 3); haven’t found God in this place as Jacob did (Gn 28) or realised their foolishness like Job (Ch 38) or even sulked enough when the shade of the castor oil plant was taken away like Jonah.(4.10).
I think our chat was a Confession. Mary, Bill and Eileen may not recognise this report of banter together but some of it did happen. It was all Diarmuid Martin’s fault.
Seamus Ahearne osa
What the world and the mass lacks is that deep profound silence. People are being driven crazy by too much noise ..too much information. I love silent meditation but I can only do it at home. In a church it is seen as eccentric. Mindfulness is taking off all over the UK. The world craves silence and peace. Deep profound peace.
As ever, Seamus, thanks.
“Any real psychology of praying is absent’
It may not be in the thunder or the lightning or the earthquake (1 Kings 19) but rather the quiet breeze”
A Personal understanding of 1 Kings 19:11-12
A wind there was (of Pride), rude and boisterous, that shook the mountains (Heavens) and broke the rocks (Holy precepts) in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not to be found in the wind (of my bluster).
Nor in the storm (High expectations of life) and earthquake (Of self-made foundations/delusions) leading to the Fire (of suffering) and after the fire, the whisper of a gentle (Uplifting) breeze
“fear not I am with you always”
kevin your brother
“We drop the Confiteor, Gloria and Creed – too many lumpy words.”
‘Mass is obese, flabby’
‘It is all a rush and a muddle.’
If you drop the Confiteor, the Gloria and the Creed, how can you avoid the Mass becoming ‘a rush and a muddle’? Is this to reduce the ‘obesity’?
My long experience of the Irish Mass is that most of our clergy made short shrift of ‘obesity’ long, long ago – by daily practice of ultra-rapid articulation. (There was a Fr Taylor in Terenure in my younger days for whose twenty minute Mass the altar boys used to compete avidly. Was the Latin more conducive to URA I wonder?)
Have you ever thought of asking everyone to come early – to consider what the point of the ritual could be, properly ‘celebrated’ – and do you have any thoughts on that yourself?
If you’re stuck, here’s a suggestion: take a trip to see ‘Star Wars: the Last Jedi’. That too is all about ‘sacrifice’, you see – but in both Hollywood and PIRA terms. (That is, first depict your locus of evil – your monsters – as totally hideous and unspeakable. That then makes your heroes’ spectacular violence entirely balletic, necessary and saintly.)
If the church considers the Mass to be a celebration of ‘acceptable’ sacrifice, why is that? Has it to do with completely non-violent self-giving, and might any of your congregation be up for that – e.g. the supporters of the SVP, Peter McVerry and Syrian refugees?
Or can we yet safely discuss Christian sacrifice in the Catholic Church in Ireland, without fear of offending that other parallel faith, Pearsite nationalism? That 1916 myth of redemptive violence parallels the ancient Babylonian myth, the Enuma Elish – like Star Wars and the James Bond franchise. It is an entirely sufficient explanation of why we Irish Catholics are tongue-tied and uncomprehending of the Mass – and why our younger generations are queueing up for the rival attraction.
Our Masses are boring because Maynooth never equipped our clergy to comment critically on contemporary cultural tropes unless they were sexual: so much for being ‘counter cultural’!
Wow! Thanks, Seamus.
Fr.Aherne,thank you for an interesting and stimulating article.The real question is why can the Mass be so unattractive in some churches? Currently, there can be a lack of structure. Why are parts of the Mass, once seen as essential, now omitted at the whim of the celebrant. Surely, the Creed has a central position in the appreciation of the Faith. Why leave out the Confiteor and simply say the Lord have Mercy, even though the Confiteor is printed on the Mass leaflet.The homily/sermon is often just a reiteration of the readings and Gospel, often in a manner which is unattractive to the laity. I recall some years ago, a parishioner saying to the priest that the sermon was much too elementary, to which the priest replied that he he had to preach at a level suitable to all present. He was then challenged to give a more serious sermon the following week which to his credit he did. The results were revealing due to the number of people who praised his sermon and asked for more like it.
It is good that in many churches the Sunday Mass is structured and relevant and long may it be so. But there is a trend in some churches to use a liturgy that does not connect with the people. Pope Francis has warned about applause and clapping at Mass, it is unattractive and shows a misunderstanding of the reality of the Mass and the Real Presence.
Excellent, Seamus, all excellent but I especially liked “….. so many young fogies dress up as if they were escapees from an ecclesiastical museum.” I think they are the living embodiment of the “narcissism” that Francis oftens refers to as one of the major ailments that blights our Catholic Church. “The cancer at the heart of our church” –another Francisism — is another way of expressing it. Is there any hope for us?
Sean @ 4
“If the church considers the Mass to be a celebration of ‘acceptable’ sacrifice, why is that?
Many struggle with this question; how a God of Love could ask Abraham to sacrifice/murder his own son Isaac, while at the same time say “Thou shall not kill”
We are taught that God’s Word (Will) is Inviolate He cannot contradict Himself.
How do we understand this conundrum?
Some say the “Old Testament is all about victimhood” rather it is about the enlightening voice of Truth, showing us the ‘Way’ to our true home in heaven, to understand this journey, we have to understand the ‘Fall’ and the developing Hebrew mentality.
Jesus tells us, he came to save that which was lost. My understanding of ‘the lost’ is that we are lost in time and place; we all carry a divine timeless spark within us, we are more than a physical being.
Please see (Continue in) my post @16 in the link below before continuing
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”
Man’s Innate knowledge all though greatly diminished at the “Fall” still tells man that this is so, but now from his broken, distorted heart, he perceives that the physical cosmos as in a continual flux, held in a continuum of distortion. This physical plane as perceived by man is the reality of his fallen state. This realty in our fallen state is not the same reality that is seen on the spiritual plane, as in a ‘timeless moment’, where all is (appears to be) in perfect harmony.
The early Hebrews, searches of the heart, as in the understanding the Light of God, can be seen in Abraham, as he sees/believes the ‘spiritual reality of Creation’ as in all things been the Will of One God.
Human sacrifice was probable practiced by many tribes at that time, although Abraham looked to the Light, we must not forget that he dwelt in his fallen state, as we all do and in that state it would not be unreasonable to consider that he would have also be drawn into the sacrificial mind set, which he was part of, as in animal sacrifice.
We do not know in what manner God spoke to Abraham, but possible through dreams, visions or happenings in nature, as in the lamb caught within a bush just prior to the intended sacrificing of Isaac, but these occurrences as in dreams, visions are all open to an act faith.
But what we do know is that Abraham acted in singular (pure) intent to his ‘understanding’ of the Will of God.
Here we are drawn into the spiritual reality in that all things are in ‘harmony’. Yes it was the Will of God, that God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but to us in our fallen state, who dwell upon the earthly plane, it can only be accepted in faith, as it cannot be seen to be in harmony, with a God of love.
God chose a practical way that could not be misunderstood, to convey his Will, to his people, that would be passed down through the ages by word of mouth (storytelling). God’s ways are not our ways, Isaac was not sacrificed.
And as this story was passed down around camp fires, men would reflect upon the Wonder of our God and continually reflect like ‘twinkling stars’ do, and grow in their understand of the Light (Spirit) of God, and we see this onward growing understanding, as in Hosea 6:6 “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings”
This onward spiritual journey home, that is one of spiritual enlightenment , individual and collectively by the early Hebrews, in their fallen nature, is a constant battle between the then known light of “Truth” and earthly ignorance; as in an eye for an eye, to “do not resist the evil doer”
‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool’.
This spiritual insight comes from God
In earthly ignorance, this could be understood as justification for the suppression of a Godless people.
But to dwell/sit in the full reality of the enlightening light of Truth, is to wait patiently, while the justice of God unfolds.
This same battle is still been played out today within the Church As seen in the ‘just’, self-inflicted chastisement by ‘Truth’ (God) upon the leadership of the Church, as our Lord Himself has placed before these men of power, the elite within the church, who in their own hubris ensnared themselves, by crystalizing their hypocrisy before God and the whole church, in such a way that cannot be misunderstood by all.
In endorsing a communiqué that incorporates the direct Word (Will) of God and then using that communiqué, they shamelessly made God in their image, a self-serving image of clericalism.
But today we are more ‘enlightened’ in that we do not pass a death sentence (Go to war) on blasphemers.
This blasphemy has come about because we as a church, do not practise/teach the full reality of ‘Truth’
Nevertheless on the spiritual plane all is in harmony, while His guiding Light, the Spirit of Truth, leads God’s holy people along the ongoing ‘Way’ of spiritual enlightenment’
kevin your brother
Imagine that – showing up 20 minutes beforehand and explain to parishioners that you are going to be there to poll the audience on matters of importance.
No need for a trip to see Star Wars – rent “the Matrix” where you will see the story cut through simulation – it presents reality as we know it. Where our Earth has become a construct that is enforced by a small percentage of the population who has enslaved mankind into being nothing more but living breathing “copper-tops” (batteries) – people who are born to burn energy and continue the cycle.
If you are celebrating acceptable sacrifice and not speaking of world wide efforts to combat planned obsolescence like The Venus Project, Zeitgeist, Ubuntu Planet, and most recently from your own countryman, The Free World Charter, what are you talking about? These groups want to burn money in all its forms – they see it as a tool for the elite and the greatest obstacle in humanity reaching its true potential – now they seem to think they can operate without – does the Church?
I would say the majority of these people (I interact with members of these groups daily) are atheist. The reason? Because God manifested in institutional form has been the very hierarchy that has enforced this status quo that is now choking our offspring with disparity.
These groups want to revolutionize the way we think about human resources. Jobs are pointless in an age where automation reigns supreme. Everyone’s needs can be met. Although this transition is irreversible, the amount of time it will take to get there is either a short walk or a very long marathon. Hint : this quickly takes place after communities become green energy producers (cooperatives) since “fossil fuels” are the most destructive contributors to planned obsolescence on our planet.
Young people are queuing up for that attraction – watching the world bust at its seams from obesity – it’s just another endocrine condition that kills the thyroid of a future generation that had no voice in this madness. Those not attending are a dying breed too. Priests who will never have children in certain respects have their fate in their hands and continue to wonder why “secularism” has taken hold.
Start your next mass with the statement “We need a new planet…” and see where the conversation goes. That’s not a boring conversation by any stretch. Ask your parishioners to raise their hands if they know a young person who has asthma, or anyone with a thyroid condition or diabetes, or know of someone who has had cancer. Ask them how does our Earth environment contribute to these conditions. Or don’t and just assume everything is fine and continue as is. Those hands you’ll see will tell a story – we don’t need a new planet – we just need field hospitals where mercy reigns supreme and leadership isn’t afraid to tackle societal issues with regular everyday people who need support.
This transition could be pushed along quite quickly if all demographics were helping, even those demographics that have their own desperate issues like recruitment and dress code, properly vetting members and membership requirements.
The planet needs an exorcism and we can’t find priests who are up for the challenge – they are still talking about Mass. Thank you for a stimulating article Seamus. It helps a lot of us to keep things in perspective.
‘We then launched into a discussion on Confession. They were all for it. I was rather against it…. we drop the confiteor.’
Accepting that Seamus is arguing for the wondrous experience of a God who is loving and forgiving, I must protest nevertheless. The dramatic logic of the Mass is surely that coming from a 1st world that is seriously unjust to many, is also ruining the planet, and is also markedly darkened by addictions and abuse of all kinds, we need to be conscious of our likely complicity in some aspect of all of that. Can one purchase e.g. clothing, prawns, tea in total innocence these times?
And what if one is self-harming this wondrous being that one is, by an addiction? Or has bullied someone else in one’s employment or classroom? Or has out of fear of shame falsified some record of our own job performance? Or has done nothing to protest a political regime that tolerates rising levels of want and homelessness?
What if we call all of this ‘self-harm’ instead of ‘sin’? Can any of us claim to be capable of arriving at Mass these times in complete blissful ‘impeccability’ – if, for example, we include the sin of doubting our own value as God-created and God-known beings (with which, for me, all self-harm begins)?
And what if we then listen to the readings for word of God’s forgiveness even so, for the poorest of spirits, ourselves or someone we know? How often will news of that be missing from those readings?
And what if we then offer ourselves in the Offertory, with any promise of other gifts later to those worse off – in gratitude and atonement, for what we are now about to receive – the same forgiving, and self-giving- God not only ‘there’ but within us, as the ‘grace’ that brings peace?
Whatever the verbal context, does not this ‘essence’ of the Mass persist – IF we first become conscious of the very simple dramatic logic of it?
Could it be that the central problem is not with the new Missal or with ‘obesity’ but with our too-narrow understanding of ‘sin’ and our too-frequent failure to bring this essence of the Mass to consciousness first of all – our loss of comprehension of, and attention to, the meaning of what we are about to do?
I for one cannot remember ever being called to such consciousness by any celebrant. Instead we enter like practised passengers on a bus, the bus moves off and our minds go walkabout until the journey is over. We have become automatons – not even able to hear the so-frequent warning ‘stay awake’!
That’s what half-a-century of non-dialogue, of automatic behaviour, will do to any church. And every celebrant could put a stop to it right now – by taking time at the start for us all to become ‘mindful’ of what we are about to do.
Where might I find such a mindful Mass?
Kevin @ 8
In endorsing a communiqué that incorporates the direct Word (Will) of God and then using that communiqué, they shamelessly made God in their image, a self-serving image of clericalism.
YES , in Mass God appears , through many of the prayers, to be an insecure God , in constant need of glorification and adulation, whilst the people must be humble and contrite and singing his praises over and over again.
How can we identify with this God..?
A truly excellent post Seamus, thank you , and the comments that follow are equally stimulating and thought provoking.
These surely are the kind of discussions that must take place rather than just discussing changing words and sentences in a Missal that has long ago lost the ability to strengthen the Faith in the hearts of people. Faith it appears at present is based on how charismatic the priest is.. Surely we can move on from this outdated model and contribute properly, acknowledging and using the expertise of the priest and of course continuing to recognise his role , but having the necessary written guidance to have as Sean @10 states “ a mindful Mass” for all attending.
Sean @ 10
“Where might I find such a mindful Mass?
Mindfulness; the means of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
For Christians we find mindfulness when we stand in humility (St Bernard Humility a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself) before our Father in heaven, directing the open recognition of our state of being before Him, otherwise you run the risk of becoming self-righteous the blinding of oneself, to the reality of your own heart/soul.
And this humility should be amplified within our hearts at Mass as we approach The Bread of Life while we contemplate/encounter/embrace/digest the on-going sacrificial Path/Way of Truth as in
“Learn from me I am meek and humble of Heart”,
So we have been given the ‘Way’ as in the Path to transform our hearts, as in creating a meek and humble one.
I am sure that many receive the Eucharist in humility but how can we manifest a Church of humility before mankind and in doing so Create ‘Unity of Purpose’ as in an all-inclusive Church for all sinners
Jesus creates a parable out of a customary real life situation; ‘two men went up to the temple to pray’ and by necessity, later went home again to their occupations (Life situation).
Jesus via the means of that parable teaches the Apostles and by implication the Priesthood and Church of today the NEVER CHANGING REALITY of “a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” and its acceptance before our Father in heaven, throughout the ages.
For this reason I believe the true Divine Mercy Image an image of man’s brokenness, given by our Lord Himself to the Church gives the Church the means to embrace “situations in which the damage cannot be repaired” through normal channels (The sacrament of reconciliation) the means to do so and lead our brothers and sisters through an open door, so to say, to His table and receive spiritual nourishment and eventually lead them to the full sacrament of reconciliation.
We now attempt to embrace Jesus and turn our gaze through His eyes, to the Tax Collector a symbol of sin, a counterpart to a prostitute. He is honest with himself as he sees the reality of himself, he depends on nothing but upon God alone for His Mercy and in doing so, he makes an act of perfect contrition, he does not make a statement that he will sin no more, for to do so would make him an hypocrite as he knows his own reality (Life Situation) in that he would go home to continue working for the enemy of his people, most probably now after his plea for mercy, he would not exploit his people for his own personal gain, but nevertheless he is entangled in a sinful situation, that involves working in collusion with the enemy of his people, which would entail dealing with informers, spies, intimidators and injustices.
Jesus also knows his living reality; nevertheless He tells us that (at that moment in time) he went home justified before God, (Not Man). He was acceptable to Jesus and it would be fair to say that today he would be welcome to partake of His table. But he would still be classed as an outcast before his own people, a person to be despised a ‘sinner’
So as stated above, it is sincerity of heart that sits at the base of Christ’s teachings and this state (Sincerity) I believe can be ‘on-going’ even in a soul entangled in a sinful situation (Who cannot receive the full Sacrament of Reconciliation) because it is on the spiritual plane that we encounter God from moment to moment (Mindfulness) as (70 times x7)
I see all those who are entangled in evil situations such as the Tax Collector been in the same boat, so to say. I also believe that the True Divine Mercy Image one of Broken Man. Given by our Lord to the Church has within itself the capacity to draw in to communion, in humility, all those outcasts who our Saviour came to save.
A believe that a Catholic can still carry the intent to make an official Confession while living in this ‘on-going’ state (Entanglement), so that when that sinful situation has been remedied he/she can ask for official absolution of their sins.
As a contrite heart is a humble heart, not a perfect one but a developing on-going one and by its very nature regrets past sins and would be aware of its entanglement with evil and because of this, in humility it would put its trust in God, while it is been transformed by Him into a compliant tender knowing compassionate one.
De internis non iudicat Ecclesia—the Church does not pass judgment on the internal forum of men.”
And that should include all of the laity, as we cannot, because only God knows the true intent (Reality) of another. God cannot be deceived, so the Church must not fear encouraging those who are entangled in a sinful situation because to make a public acknowledgement that you are not as you should be before the Lord and the faithfully, just prior to receiving Communion, is not an easy option and because of this, we would see the true intent (Sincerity) of the majority of recipients. As in a humble heart, one with the on-going potential for spiritual growth, leading to full reconciliation with the Church
And that is why Jesus says what should be terrifying words for us to reflect upon
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (When we also finally look for His Mercy)
What I am proposing does not ‘give scandal’ as no one is deceived, rather it glorifies God before the laity and mankind as it shows the merciful human face of Jesus Christ
“A bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out”
“Has it become more difficult, two thousand years later, to embrace/encounter the Lord?
kevin your brother
Phil Greene @ 11
Thank you Phil for your comment, when you posted your comment, it was put on display at the same time as my post @ 12 and as you can see, my post responds to “ a mindful Mass” and many of your concerns. So you’re other points for clarification
”In Mass God appears, through many of the prayers, to be an insecure God in constant need of glorification and adulation,”
It is not God’s need, it is our own need and that of all those created by Him, as to have a glimpse of Him they/we would be awestruck (struck dumb) as all would shield they essence/face from Him.
In a man he would cover his face (Soul) this can be seen with Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes (A self-reflected awareness) of their own nakedness (State/Shame) before His presence also known by Elijah who wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave (From his hiding/covering place)
This covering of the face/soul is a physical (Hand to eyes/head) spontaneous reaction as it is innately (Spontaneously) known by all, as in when the accepted presence of God is contemplated (lift up one’s eyes/soul) in seeking the truth, of His Truth, from within one’s own distorted ‘questioning’ heart, in effect it is an attempt to forestall the sight of one’s own brokenness inducing us to bow our heads before Him in humility. As with Isaiah in the temple when he witnessed; “This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness”
Many approach Jesus in His humanity while the full reality of His divinity is shielded/veiled and possible because of this, for some the tendency is to lose the awe and mystery of the God head, for getting His humility in His humanity, before the Father/Truth and because of this, the wonder of Him shielding/leading us; as in “The-Blessedness-of-a-Humble-and-Contrite-Heart you O God will not despise” is not fully comprehended.
“Learn from me I am meek and humble of heart”
True worship resides in each individual human
heart ‘Hallowed be thine name’ we give glory to God and should in harmony continually (Not possible in our fallen state) sing in joy, His praise (From within our heart/soul) as the Seraphim do, in their spirit proclaiming “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts” continually in the heavenly realm, where God willing, we willing one day in continuous joy also do the same.
When the gentle breeze (Holy Spirit) touches a humble heart before Him, the uplifting infused knowledge/grace/awareness of God, impels the heart to well up (Cry out) in joy in harmony with the Seraphim and all those in the heavenly realm as in “Holy Holy…………
But this can only take place from within a humble heart, held before Him. We would/could see this holding of a humble heart in our Church, in those who would stand before a Broken Image of themselves, in humility before Him, just prior to them embracing God within the Eucharist and all truly humble hearts would be impelled to cry out from within the heart Holy, Holy, Holy…
“Faith it appears at present is based on how charismatic the priest is.. Surely we can move on from this outdated model…”
The kind of discussions that must take place, needs to take place under the bright lamp of Truth as the faith can only be propagated, when lived in humility (Humble service) before God and each other, the structures of the church need to be reinforced; as in a manifest honest (Open all embracing) Priesthood, that is capable of creating Unity of Purpose. Our Lord Himself has given us (His Church) the means to do this, but it will require embracing a traumatic transforming act of humility.
If She the Church were to do this (Embrace humility) then from this base one of humility, credibility would be restored while many past wrongs could be corrected while new more inclusive structures would be naturally formed, in effect bringing an end to Clericalism.
kevin your brother
Addendum to my Post @ 13
Do we not also see the significance of the face covering, from within the tomb of Jesus “and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself”
In relation to Elijah (And others who covered their face/soul/essence) who wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave (From his hiding/covering place)
We can now see the new order as the risen Jesus Christ goes forth from the tomb/cave with His human state/essence uncovered (transformed) towards/in the Father, permitting us also to do the same and follow Him in the ‘Way’ of stepping out of the tomb of death/sin, with our faces/souls uncovered showing/owning our true state before Him and others, dressed in the free but compulsory Wedding Garment of Humility to be worn by all, no matter what their state of being.
Please consider continuing in the link below.
kevin your brother
Thank you Kevin.
Phil Greene @ 15
No! I should be thanking you Phil, for giving me the chance to reflect and respond to your points.
kevin your brother