“Christ, not the priest, not anyone else, is the centre”

“Christ, not the priest, not anyone else, is the centre”

A great article from an interview with Dom Alcuin Reid, from over at NLM. Some highlights:

But why are bodily gestures or, generally, the way in which a priest celebrates the Mass important for the life of the Church? Isn’t Faith, aren’t good works more important?

Faith and good works are not disembodied. We are body and soul together in this life and we discipline and train our bodies for so many things, for sport, athletics, and so on.

We must discipline and train our bodies also spiritually. As in certain circumstances we would behave with our bodies with respect and attention towards other people, so when we come for Christ in the liturgy, we too have certain bodily gestures.

It is very unusual for us in our modern culture to kneel. But to kneel in the presence of Christ in the liturgy tells us that we are doing something not usual, it speaks to us. To genuflect, to bow profoundly, to sing the Church’s chant in a disciplined way, all these things remind us physically that we are doing something different to a normal way of behaving, relaxing. So, too, the Church’s liturgical vesture reminds us that this is not a priest, a human person that is doing his thing. He is doing Church’s thing, he is putting on Christ, which is symbolised by the vestments.

These things are not part of Divine Law themselves, they are human traditions coming out of love and worship for the Church. They are not absolute, but they are tried and tested means of expressing our Faith and worship.”


Also, this:

The Mass is not entertainment, it’s worship, so what we need to do for young people is not provide an imitation of the culture we think they might like, but to introduce them to the person of Christ active in the liturgy. The Mass is boring if I look at it as some form of stimulation which must keep me entertained. The Mass is not boring if I enter into it as encounter with, communication with the person of Christ to whom I give all that I can and who gives me all that I need.”



saints and martyrs

In my last entry, we looked at what the Catechism teaches about the Lord’s Day: Sunday is the most important day of the week, the celebration of the Christ’s Paschal mystery.  The liturgical year is structured in such a way that throughout the Sundays and Solemnities of the year, the entire mystery of Christ is unfolded for us.  Another way of exploring the Paschal mystery of Christ throughout the year is through the “Sanctoral cycle,” that is, the memorials of the lives of the Saints.  The Catechism (no. 1173) teaches us:

“When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those ‘who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ.  She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God’s favors.’”

I may have mentioned here before, and we should remember, that as Catholics, we do not “worship” or “adore” the saints.  Worship is reserved for, and due to, Almighty God alone.  We do, however, venerate the saints.  This means that we acknowledge our respect for this particular person, and that we hold them as an example of how to live the Christian life. Saints are people that we know are in heaven.  Some people, and some other Christian groups, may say that honoring a saint, or even a statue of a saint, is worshipping a false idol.  This is not what we are doing.  We are not making that person into a god, but we are saying that they honored God by their life, and we wish to follow their example.  By contemplating an image or praying in front of a statue, we are asking for help in leading good Christian lives, just as that person lived.  Pre-eminent among the saints is our Blessed Mother, Mary, a perfect example of how to answer God’s call to holiness.

When we ask a Saint for their intercession, we are asking, believing that they are in heaven, for them to be an advocate for us to Christ.  In the Litany of Saints, we sing the name of a Saint followed by “pray for us.”  This means “pray to God for us.”  It’s like having a friend go whisper in His hear, because you know this friend is in “good-standing”, so to speak. In the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen), one of the many awesome titles we give to Mary is “most gracious Advocate.”  There’s nothing wrong with praying to Jesus, and also asking His mother to go ask Him for help, too.  After all…what happened at the Wedding at Cana?

Is there a particular saint that you ask for intercession on your behalf?  Who do you wish to emulate?  Who is your patron saint?