Monday, March 12, 2007

I Must Remember that I Can Only Invite - The Lord Does the Rest

In commenting on Athos' post I used a quote from Yeats, who penned "The best lack all convictions, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity." I asked in the comment how we can rev-up our lives. Well it didn’t take long to find an answer as I came across this post from Welborn’s open book.

The message starts off with, How can we communicate the joy of Catholic worship and I would make sure we see in the word, 'joy' a sense of passionate intensity - and I hope that all see in the concept of 'Catholic worship' the Eucharist – the sacrifice and the body and blood of Our Lord.

Father Dwight Longenecker continues:

To the outsider I know this seems arcane, irrelevant and difficult to understand. To many Catholics it seems the same. They wonder why worship cannot be more 'relevant' and more easy to understand. Perhaps they wonder why the worship cannot be more joyful, more upbeat and more 'with it'. I cannot explain.

I cannot explain in the way I cannot explain a Mozart aria, a Beethoven quartet or a Raphael Madonna. I cannot explain the lift and surge of liturgy as I cannot explain the heft of a poem or the fullness of the silence in the rest of music. I cannot explain the transcendence of beauty,the knowledge of eternity electric in the frail physical things. I cannot explain the connection with the infinite in the interstices of the psalms, the intimacy of goodness in the rapt face of a child in worship, the contact with reality in the smoke of incense, the deep rumble of the organ, the delicate dance of light or the poignant harmony of plainsong. I cannot explain the certainty of sanctity known in the wrinkled hands of an old woman in prayer, or the certainty of grace in a teenaged boy kneeling in silence--a smile of joy impressed upon his face as if by an unseen power.

I cannot explain any of these things, but I can invite you to the feast.


Athos said...

The only draw for me is the Real Presence of Our Lord in Catholic worship. And, as Bailie points out, when one sees the absolute anthropological necessity, the aspects of spirituality naturally follow. Approaching it from the other direction ("101 Things to Think About if Your Mind is Distracted During Mass") is to my way of thinking disingenuous. Almost a "works righteousness" arrangement: "If I just get myself worked up sufficiently, this will be the BEST worship experience of my entire life!" Yawn.

Coming at it from the anthropological pov, IMO, is one reason I entered into full communion with Christ's Catholic Church.

Porthos said...

Waldo Beach? Dwight Longnecker? OK, admit it guys. These aren't real names, right? You're just messing with me, right? Fess up.

Nice linked reflection, Aramis.

Porthos said...

Anchoress links this reflection on some decidedly non-transcendent liturgical experiences that can cause converts to Catholicism to unconvert. Concluding with some very Aramis-esque thoughts along the "it all starts with me" line.

(Did I really say "Aramis-esque"? I didn't say "Aramis-esque," did I? Must have been one of you two.)

Athos said...

Augustinus offer sage advice in that post, Porthos. Thanks for the link. "Cafeteria is Closed" is a good'un.

When I was receiving my catechetical training, kindly offered by Father Jack Peterson on a weekly basis in his office, I once asked him:

"Does the Catholic Church that I love -- that of Newman, Chesterton, Belloc, Merton and all the rest -- even exist any more?"

He, a 30-something not-long-out-of-seminary priest replied (and I'm paraphrasing): "O yes, regardless of what the wreckovator/modernist types attempt."

Porthos said...


But regarding those dis-converted converts, is it really so hard for people, in the land of the free, to find a decent mass? Why don't folks try the small lonely, lighly attended ones, like Saturday's?

I spent many years of my life being (on most weekends) situationally unable to attend any church AT ALL--and catching a lot of hell for it on the days that I could. I guess I have a hard time working up sympathy for folks that DO have that freedom but have no wil or gumption to deploy it to advantage. Come on, people. You really can't look around a little? You really expect it to just drop in your lap like another baby boomer entitlement? (Hmmm . . . I'm starting to sound like that "I used to trudge five miles through the snow to school, in copper-toed boots" schtick.)

Hey, nice link to an appreciative Evangelical from Jimmy Akin here.

(We have now officially hijacked your post, Aramis! Sorry. It just happens. Web rules.)

David Nybakke said...

Are you guys messing with me here? Is there something about the infallibility of the Church that we are glossing over? To me, the key point was made by Athos in his comment, that with “the absolute anthropological necessity (of the Real Presence), the aspects of spirituality naturally follow.” All this whining about church is dwarfed to the unbelievable gift of Himself given to us through the Church. Am I missing something here? Well, I certainly may be missing something.

I completely understand Augustinus comments, but his comments are in a way why we 3 Massketeers started up our blog, and that is to help explain (put meaning to - or square the circle on) what Athos said, “the absolute anthropological necessity (of the Real Presence)” and everything else follows… If only "the absolute anthropological necessity" of the Real Presence in the Mass could be readily accessible...hhhuuummm

Do you have access to the simple-dimple version of “the absolute anthropological necessity” explanation that we can post on the blog? (hhhaahhh, I seemed to have misplaced my copy...I know it is around here someplace. Athos, you got it? Porthos?)

Maybe we should go back to our previous post “Making A Deal with Death”.

Athos said...

The new post of Archbishop Sheen comes at the issue of anthropology by never mentioning it per se, but by outlining it, Aramis. See if you don't think so.

BTW, I think Bailie thematizes the whole "approaching the Eucharist from the anthropological viewpoint" in his "Entering the Biblical Story at the Eucharistic Table," AND the whole "softcore nihilism" business ... that takes us (back) to "Making Deals with Death."

Porthos said...

I was being (clumsily?) whimsical around here, Aramis, not flippant. Sorry if I sent the wrong signals or took the thread off track!

I don't know what simple-dimple version thing you're speaking of, Ar. Specifics?


Athos said...

Holy Whapping via Amy Welborn: "(Benedict XVI)gave the reform of the reform much of its steam by expressing these ideas in popular books; it can only continue to pick up steam now that these ideas are more fully incorporated into the magisterium."

"Reform of the reform" is nomenclature for "undoing the wreckovation of the Protestant wannabees who hijacked Vatican II and read it according to their own agendas." Bravo, BXVI!