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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time to get ready

I've tended to think of the Gloria, if I thought of it at all, as a sort of throwaway prayer that was there to create a spacer between decades of the rosary or as a notification that you were done with a series of prayers and ready to move onto something else. Has anyone ever heard it prayed in a fervent rather than a mumbled tone? I thought not.

But it's been getting my attention lately. Isn't it the complete epitome of worship?

Glory be to the Father!

And to the Son!

And to the Holy Spirit!

As it was in the beginning . . . is now . . . and ever shall be! World without end!


I've seen you people. You're just like me You're perfectly capable of standing on your feet, waving your arms and screaming when you have seats on the 50 yard line and your team is driving for the go-ahead touchdown with 45 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Well, think of being in the middle of a hepped up group of God-lovers jumping, smiling, laughing and shouting "GLORY BE TO THE FATHER! AND TO THE SON! AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT! . . . ." Does it or does it not give you gooseflesh? It does me.

Okay, now the $65,000 question: Do you think heaven will look more like this or like a sedate, mannerly mortuary waiting room?

Yep. Better start practicing.

12 comments:

onionboy said...

This summer I was in a neighboring city doing some studies. Thus it was that I became a temporary regular at the Mass held in the basilica. The Mass I worshiped at was Cantor and Organ, no choir but what a Gloria. A 'tune' I was not that familiar with but it sounded old. The cantor was a clear, strong tenor and combined with the tune as I sang I could not help but bust out in such a grin that it made it hard for me to continue singing. It more than rivaled anything I used to know as worship with contemporary songs, guitars and drum kits. GLORIA in caps it was, to be sure.

O | luminousmiseries.ca | onionboy.ca

Kansas Bob said...

I'm with you TZ - worshipping the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium puts most of our Sunday morning worship to shame.

I think that it is all about the environment. Growing up Episcopal gave me the impression that church was a very serious place where smiles, hugs and other physical expressions were taboo. It was a bit of culture shock when I attended my first charismatic service in the 70s ... hard to imagine worship any other way now.

Therese Z said...

B, that's my blogsister Roz doin' that fine writing. I'm up to my blessed fundament in work and just dropped in to say howdy.

To answer her thought: I never thought about the noise levels of Heaven. I never really thought about whether I'd even notice anyone else! Now I have to think it over. The Glory Be (as we called it when I was a kid) DOES sound like a wind-up, a cheer!

To answer KBob's thought: I still think church (the inside, the sanctuary) is not for big howdying and hugging. We are in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and getting our minds and hearts ready for Mass. I don't mean that we have to frown and ignore people, but there is a limit. I especially am distracted when late-arrivers make a bunch of pointless noise (I don't mean answering little kids' questions, or saying hello in a low tone), because I'm trying to get my head out of my own self and into the Church, and I mean the whole Church in the world and in Heaven, all at once, worshiping together.

Now, out in the vestibule, we should be in intense and caring fellowship, though.

Ah, but BOB! Didn't you come to the right place! Roz's parish IS charismatic! It is a Catholic charismatic parish! And they are just as silent before Mass as my "regular" parish, for the same reasons. They are much better at the fellowship after than mine, though, since they are a "personal parish" and not a geographic one, so the people are more self-selected and far more fervent and involved, on average.

The Mass is of course identical; the difference is spontaneous prayer at certain points of the Mass. It's beautiful and I appreciate it when I make my annual visit.

Roz said...

Only annual, eh Therese? We'll have to fix that.

Kansas Bob said...

I think I gave you a huge compliment Roz by calling you TZ :)

Catholics are not alone in their serious worship and I think that it has little to do with the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I think that it has everything to do with tradition and the type of people that is attracted to church.

For me, the Blessed Presence causes me to rejoice, dance and lift my hands in worship. The Blessed Presence is a source of amazing joy and gladness ... I sometimes feel that I get a glimpse of heaven when I experience the Blessed Presence.

Therese Z said...

Bob, I agree with you that Catholics are not alone in serious worship. That is a given in any discussion of Christianity. The devotion and brave faith of other Christians put me to shame.

But please don't project motives into our minds. "I think that it has little to do with the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I think that it has everything to do with tradition and the type of people that is attracted to church." That's a huge supposition for a church that contains billions of people! We got everybody. We got two of everybody. We got FIVE of everybody. And I have unity of worship with a Vietnamese peasant and a Russian banker and a Chinese accountant and a New Jersey bookstore owner. We say the same prayers at the same Mass everyday, and move through the same liturgical rhythm, devotion life, together.

The "source and summit" of our intimate, grace-filled connection with Jesus Christ is the Eucharist. It doesn't set aside any other form of prayer, or service, or acts or hope, love and charity. It's the Word made Flesh, the Capstone, the Head and Foundation, since it's really the Body and Blood of Christ. That's what I've always understood and believed AND experienced. The Catechism says it in no uncertain terms, so it's not my personal conclusion. Roz will agree, I know.

It would be interesting for (1) you to ask any fervent Catlicks of your acquaintance what's most important in their faith life and (2) me to ask fervent Prots what's most important in their faith life. I think you'll get one answer. I am pretty sure I'll get several different answers.

Kansas Bob said...

To answer your question TZ: I suppose the Catlicks would say the Blessed Sacrament and the Prots would say Jesus ... not sure that they would be saying something different.

Getting back to Roz' post ... I agree with her about what heaven will look like when she says:

"Well, think of being in the middle of a hepped up group of God-lovers jumping, smiling, laughing and shouting "GLORY BE TO THE FATHER! AND TO THE SON! AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT!"

I just think that church should be that way as well ... especially when you have the Blessed Sacrament in your midst.

Roz said...

Thanks for the compliment, Bob. I love being mistaken for my partner. TZ - that's cute. Remind me to use that, Therese.

I have a foot in both camps here. I have had profound worship experiences that have been totally and palpably silent, and I've jumped up and down in delight at God's extraordinary love and goodness. Either can be rich, either can be inadequate if they aren't really inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes too, what pleases God most is to just do the next right thing, whether that is listening to a reading from Scripture, digging a car out of a snowdrift, or trying to stay awake in the morning until we work our way through our list of prayer intentions.

Jesus is especially present in his Body and Blood transformed from but still appearing like bread and wine in the same way he still appeared to be only a man but was fully divine as well. God is also present in a special way (though less incarnationally, in my view) when two or three (or more) are worshiping him in a heartfelt way with all the energy, zeal and vigor that God makes us capable of. What riches.

So I'll stick with "both/and" rather than "either/or". I'm thankful that God keeps looking for ways to help us approach him that make some aspect of his nature more real to us. I think both of these (as well as many more) are wonderful gifts. So I'm glad to be both Catholic and charismatic so I can lean into both the deep quiet and extravagant breakthrough types of worship without having to mess with too much culture shock.

Therese Z said...

"I suppose the Catlicks would say the Blessed Sacrament and the Prots would say Jesus ... not sure that they would be saying something different."

You're RIGHT! We would say Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Prots might say Jesus "in my heart" or "in the Word" or... But for me/us, it's that focus, that moment of RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE, that inspires love and a search for holiness.

But read Roz - she is a way better participant on this topic than me, since she has had her feet in many more camps, and with more faithful devotion, than I ever have.

Kansas Bob said...

Ditto this for me:

Either can be rich, either can be inadequate if they aren't really inspired by the Holy Spirit.

For me the music/songs of worship are the best way to get my heart into His presence. Of course for others, RC & Prot (my church included), they don't enjoy seem to enjoy singing and prefer to stand around with their hands in their pockets and not sing ... I guess they could be worshipping "on the inside" :)

Going back to your original post Roz: Do you think that (all of) our services seem to lack the joy and excitement that you originally posted about? That is what I was commenting on.

Roz said...

No,Bob, I really wasn't originally talking about worship in our services. I was talking about my tendency to take something wonderful -- it could be Catholic prayers like the Gloria, a Protestant benediction or an often-repeated worship song that perhaps we don't like much -- so for granted that I miss a real connection with life and power.

That's not an awful thing. It happens because we're human. But every once in a while, we might get a whiff of something fresh and vibrant. That's what happened to me when I began to meditate on the "glory be". So I wanted to nudge other people who might get in ruts like I do and sort of lean over to say, "Hey, have you ever noticed this? Pretty exciting, huh?"

I'm probably not as deep as you think I am. [grin]

Kansas Bob said...

I guess I was focusing on and resonating with this part of your post Roz:

"Has anyone ever heard it prayed in a fervent rather than a mumbled tone?"

I mistakenly thought that you were addressing the lack of fervency/passion in your church services. Guess I was wrong.

 

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