And With Some of Your Spirits

My wife reported she got one out of three spirits at Mass last night. I had two. I thought all three responses were mixed, but as the Mass went on, there was more of you than of spirit in the mix. The pastor said we were going to be gentle and understanding and helpful to one another. After his reminder at the start of 8:30 Mass this morning, I’d say that yous solidly trumped spirits. How to read that? I’d say it’s a sleepy gray morning in central Iowa. One of our three lectors was missing, as was the assigned sacristan.

Ray had a unique observation in the thread below, that some of the Mass texts seem a “weird parody.” I couldn’t disagree. I also couldn’t disagree that the Roman Missal has been in drastic need of revision for at least a generation. After following the politics of liturgy in the universal church, doing parish catechesis, and celebrating one Mass, I still believe this is true today.

The metaphor that comes to mind is that of an open door. If believers have barred the door, God can still work between the cracks. But if the door is wide open, and the people there are welcoming, then obviously there are fewer obstacles to the Gospel. My sense is that we’re somewhere in between a barred door and an open door. An open door would have been really nice. I think the poverty of the modern world means people are ripe to latch onto Christ and to a more spiritual, sacrificial, and fruitful way of life. Violence and materialism have spent themselves to the point where substantial numbers of people are ready to reject them wholesale. Too bad the Church has little enough alternatives to offer in turn.

The full section at the end of Isaiah 63 makes for interesting reading, don’t you think? I’ve bolded the section omitted from the Advent 1 reading:

You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named from of old.
Why do you make us wander, LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we do not fear you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
Why have the wicked invaded your holy place,
why have our enemies trampled your sanctuary?
Too long have we been like those you do not rule,
on whom your name is not invoked.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you …

Why indeed? May the Lord be with our spirits in the season ahead. God surely must know we need it.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Parish Life, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to And With Some of Your Spirits

  1. Liam says:

    Of course, there are plenty of loud voices at St Blog’s who have a very emphatic reading of that bolded text, in which it is the reformers who have been the wicked invaders who have made that sanctuary more like unto the Nations than Israel.

    My own reading is that these dichotomies, in light of the Paschal Mystery for the many without regard to our categories, have to be read differently: all of us are mixed matter – through baptism, we are claimed by Christ for the new Israel in the new Creation, but through our continued falling short of that call, we are also the wicked. We are wheat and tares. Now. Not Yet. Advent is a great season to contemplate the both/andness of that which our small imaginations prefer to see as Us vs Them.

    Anyway, I’ve been suffering a cold all week, so I forwent the Advent at my usual parish (including lessons & carols this afternoon) and participated at one of the two parishes in my little city, the more progressive but thorough (in liturgical matters) of the two (where the late Fr Field was long pastor). The catechesis bore fruit, and there was a reminder primer before Mass that had effects. I found myself most prone to forget the spirit before the Pax – because that dialogue is one I forget about in the moment. Generally, the responses were made as now prescribed, except for the final blessing (which I did not forget, but I believe the informality of announcements will tend to make people go on autopilot for the final blessing…..).

    It was just as well I did as I did today – this was a good place to experience the transition. Better than my usual place, where the shift is partly (though not entirely) caught up in other, less noble, matters.

  2. Like your wife, I got one of the three at 4pm mass yesterday. Our community was like some lost but yet cheerful tribe, welcoming Advent and new language. The pastor missed a few words himself, we all smiled and kept going. I felt heartened by it all.

    That said, we had 4 masses yesterday – two funerals and one wedding. I was present for the first funeral and was in the building for the wedding… those last “and also with yous” as well as some other things were on my heart. I felt that I was given a gift of sorts, even under those circumstances.

    The barred door and the open door – apt sentiments. As always, beautifully put thoughts and gratefully received by me. Thank you.

  3. Sheila says:

    All of the “spirits” made it this morning in my parish’s Mass. The people were engaged and enthusiastic about the changes. It was a fantastic way to start Advent!

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