Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Beauty of the Mass

Just wanted to think out loud a little about a comment I made earlier. It seems like no matter how bad your day might be or no matter what might be getting you down, going to the Mass always lifts me up. I would say that this is probably true of all forms of worship, but sadly I know better. I can remember times when it was a burden to drag myself to certain services because of fighting, the lack of a good message, the relative unimportance I placed on hearing a 90 minute sermon with versus 2 minutes of the important "The Lord's Supper". Please note here that I am not saying this is the case in every other type of worship besides Catholic. I know that out there people take a lot out of various types of worship, and all types of honest worship are in some sense good.

As I stated earlier, I am a fan of short homilies (sermons). I love how Catholics keep them relatively short because it helps focus my mind on the two important parts of the Mass (the way it is divided) - the Liturgy of the Word (3 Bible readings, usually one Old Testament, one New Testament, and the most important - The Gospel!) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (where we make the Eucharistic Sacrifice and consume Christ's body and blood!).

The wonderful thing about this mass is that within about 3 years (if you go to daily mass, at least) you will hear the entire Bible. You hear all of one gospel every year (Matthew, Mark, or Luke) and also parts of John during each year.

Since it is a liturgical form of worship, there are strict rules on the worship that help to maintain at least basic consistency from time to time, to focus our minds on the most important things (The Holy Trinity, and especially Christ).

I'm absolutely beaming each time I leave!


mel said...

Eerily similar, indeed!
And not at all offensive.
This is your worship experience of choice. Where we go is of our choice, too, and we love it.
We haven't always. We've been in and out of military chapels for a long time, and we've been in "contemporary" services with civilian churches. Nothing has compared to the reverence we see/feel/experience for the teaching of the Bible and the remembrance of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross for us like we have at our home church. I've not seen it anywhere in any other Prot circles I've been in. So for now, it's our home. There's a balance (without actually breaking it down into Liturgy of Word and Liturgy of Sacrament) between the two, and it's a beautiful thing on that first Sunday of the month when we participate as a People of God with His Supper. (We would love it every day or at least whenever we meet as a congregation!!) I RARELY leave the worship service having not wept for pure joy and gratefulness over His love for me. Rarely.

Thanks for the openness here.
I just think His Church is much bigger than most of us give it credit for being; I'm not real comfortable with the "separated" labels from the Vatican, and I guess it's because of solemn "real" worship that He allows in our little country church. Whatever. He is honored and glorified regardless.

I think many of the people I communicate with have a lot to say on Sunday nights after celebrating the Sabbath of their Lord. And in that, there is unity. Thanks be to God.

~Joseph the Worker said...

That's wonderful. Thanks for the comments. As always, it's a pleasure hearing from you and hearing about others and their worship!

Anonymous said...

Joseph, I think in some weird, remote way, I'm with you on the whole big sermon stuff. The older I get, the more I think everything in worship should be divided up as equally as possible in regards to time. I don't guess there's anything wrong with giving a huge sermon, but that tradition, even in my church, is slowly waning, although everything still pretty much revolves around the sermon. You know, there's like a "Scripture Reading" that sort of foreshadows the sermon, and when we pray we tend to open the service by praying to learn from the sermon and we close the service often by praying that we will apply the sermon to our lives.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, in my mind. Just an interesting observation.

~Joseph the Worker said...


Very interesting! No, there is nothing wrong with a long sermon. Definitely not. Actually I'm surprised none of the Catholics who like the Latin Mass have not shown up to bash me for this :)

Also, I got to thinking about the scripture reading in the CoC. That's bizarrely somewhat similar to our Liturgy of the Word...although the Sermon in ours is just a tiny commentary and uplifter about the gospel and scriptures we just heard while in the CoC the scripture is kind of a "get your brain ready" for the sermon.....interesting.

mel said...

Hi again. Our sermons are more like inductive Bible studies, going through books of the Bible verse by verse and very indepth, not just a topical message sprinkled with a few supporting verses. Also, with the Doxology, Gloria Patria, Creeds, Catechism Q&A, and the up-and-down, there is MUCH focus on why we're there -- and it is not for ourselves. We've grown to MUCH prefer this to the seeker sensitive, man-centered dramatic performances of the "modern" church. Now if we just had kneeling rails and weekly Communion.... I can see why someone in CoC or something more casual would go .02.

Tiber Jumper said...

Quite honestly, since I have been Catholic, I love short homilies.The less opportunity for the priest to inject his personality, agenda etc the better. We are not supposed to be entertained!
My old protestant churches had 50-60 minute sermons and 45 minutes of raucous contemporary worship.
when the sacraments were removed from the church after the reformation, a huge vacuum was formed. "Nature abhors a vacuum." So what fills the vacuum left by the removal of the Blessed Sacrament? Lively sermons, singing, multi media, litugical dance etc. It all makes sense that our former protestant churches were just trying to fill a void that could never be filled once Christ no longer was front and center as the focus of worship in the Mass.
It took me 31 yrs of searching to find this out.
God bless you

~Joseph the Worker said...

Well stated, Tiber Jumper. I can't quite say our old worship was very raucous...but.. It was there.. :)