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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

For An Increase In Sacred Moments

Changes I don't really mind:
1) Taking something solemn, like the Novus Ordo, and approaching it joyfully with rousing music. Joy for Him is awesome, God loves it.
2) Taking a generic, normally upbeat "praise and worship" event and solemnizing it, by adding moments for silent prayer or quiet adoration. Its good to love Him in quietude!

Changes I do mind:
Taking an act or symbol of reverence out of something sacred for absolutely NO reason at all.

In the Diocese of Albany, most churches no longer kneel after the Lamb of God. Some do, some don't, and a couple are mixed. I realize this isn't a crisis, I know that one little change in physical position of the congregation doesn't mean that we have somehow switched from worshiping God to adopting Paganism. But it's caused division and accomplished nothing, and we didn't used to be so divided. I remember when the change was made, started by Then-Bishop of Albany Howard Hubbard when I lived here as a little child. I felt terrible about it.

I must have only just have been old enough to receive Communion a year or two at that age, but I remember being shocked that we were no longer supposed to kneel as we prepare to receive our Blessed Lord. I mean, what sort of meeting happened for someone to suggest something so silly? "Hey, you know that time where we are all supposed to be express reverence to God and that sort of thing? Lets NOT do that." It didn't make sense to my kiddie-Catholic brain, worship was our entire spiritual mission!

Before that, while preparing for First Communion, I'd cleverly (I'd thought that of myself at the time) asked why we 'had' to kneel a second time during mass, if the Consecration was the important part. We knelt when Jesus came down and became Bread and Wine, and that was the biggest part of Mass! I don't recall who, but someone replied that while Jesus had performed one Miracle, that of transforming this food into Himself, we knelt because we were very unworthy and were begging for a second Miracle, that of our finite selves being able to take Our infinite Lord in. The centurions prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy," began to mean something to me a little at a time. Later, when I moved out of Albany, I was relieved to find that when I hit my knees after the Lamb of God, a hundred knees once again went down with mine.

At first, it was because kids don't like feeling singled out, and I was an especially immature one. But then I noticed little things. For me, the Eucharist became God Most Humbled, and I felt it was unjust not to completely cave in like in reply before His Presence. By this humiliation, by scourging, by Calvary, by the cross He became Christ Singled-Out, and kneeling was an invitation to break the singleness. On some days, He is Christ Most Precious, and all precious things are small. It was impossible to look on His tiny, most Sacred Host and not long to be small, intimately close and diminished for Him, and then standing seems absurd.

Sometimes I forget it, but for the most part it has truly hammered into my head in a half-dozen ways the fact that there are no unsacred moments surrounding Our Lord: Even the spit of the crowds would have been made sacred by His Face. I live in the Diocese of Albany again, and have for a year, and yet the change is still jarring. It feels wrong, and I still don't understand it. Its a little moment, and a little change, but we should be ever consecrating more and more of each moment back to Him. We don't kneel enough, and not just here. Experience has shown, in Christian clubs, Christian marriages, entire freaking Christian churches, that when we stop acknowledging where Christ reaches to touch our lives, we forget that He's there at all. We need to be making more of Catholic life sacred, not less.

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