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Friday, September 13, 2013

A Reflection on the Sacred Liturgy

This semester I am taking a Liturgy and Sacraments course. As a part of the course we are encouraged to write reflections based upon certain writings that speak to us. The following is my first reflection: 

I find it difficult sometimes to acknowledge the Liturgy as more than "merely a historical re-enactment." When I go to mass so much of my attention goes towards remembering Christ's sacrifice that I am not sure if I recognize that there is more than just this one element to the Liturgy. At least on the subconscious level. I suppose that I do not tend to think about Christ as ever "present and active." I find myself also equally concerned about the act of "worshiping" which is a term not of my own vocabulary as much as in the protestant traditions. (To me "protestant" is any Christian church that is not Catholic; yes I realize that this is not the correct use of the term). 

Having experienced non-Catholic Christian faith traditions when I was little has seemed to do nothing but hinder my want or desire or lack of to understand them. I was forced by my family members to go to their church growing up--many of the people, if not all, turned up their noises when they found out that I was practicing Catholicism--or maybe in some of the very early years it was still my hope that I would become Catholic. I had hope that one day I would be baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. I yearned to be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church--the only Church that made me feel at home and at peace. Finally when I was around 8 or 9 years old I became Catholic, at this point I was baptized. I remember early on being taught that I may not or should not partake in what my family members church referred to as "Eucharist" or "Communion" as the Catholic Church and these Christian Churches do not have the same beliefs. Again family members and other congregants turned their noses up and they had disbelief that the Catholic's "Eucharist" and theirs was no different. In their eyes, hearts, and minds it was the same, they did not understand. The Eucharist was never for me just symbolism. For me as a Catholic the Eucharist is actually the body and blood of Jesus Christ, poured out for all of us so that we may be saved from sin and be granted ever lasting life. 

The beautiful thing about being Catholic is that the Liturgy is not just a mere symbol  nor just a re-enactment but also most importantly a sacrament. The Liturgy is an "encounter with the living God in Christ Jesus, present and active in a dynamic and sacramental way," this I am still ever presently trying to grasp. Catholic Theology, specifically Christology, sometimes is unexplainable, you just have to have faith and believe. 

This reflection was based upon the following readings:

Sacrosanctum Concilium December 4, 1963 (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) 

The Liturgy Documents Vol 1. Edition 5. 
"An Overview of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" ~ Rev. Msgr. Richard B. Hilgartner 
  

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