Danneels on Liturgy: Homo Liturgicus

Today our associate pastor, Father Michael, gave me a copy of that America piece, we’ve begun to discuss. I like this guy. Both guys, actually.

It’s a pleasant experience to have such a theologically-inclined person on staff. We had a dynamic weekly meeting today: the clergy and the liturgist, that is. In between touching on the issues of sacristan procedures, announcing music listings or not, and assorted other details, we also got into a discussion on what Vatican II really did for the funeral rites, and what the mind of Pope Benedict might actually be on the separation of clergy and laity in the Communion Rite.

It’s going to be a good year, I can tell.

Anyway, keeping up with our new priest, I was reading over Cardinal Danneel’s discussion of “homo liturgicus.”

The “homo liturgicus” does not manipulate, nor is his or her action restricted to self-expression or auto-realization. It is an attitude of orientation towards God, readiness to listen, obedience, grateful reception, wonder, adoration and praise. It is an attitude of listening and seeing, of what Guardini called “contemplating,” an attitude so alien to the “homo faber” in many of us.

I agree that the modern sensibility is counter to any notion of contemplation. Danneels suggests that our “active participation” must be situated within a “contemplative attitude.”

I always bristled at the suggestion that the traditional early Sunday “quiet Mass” was in some way a “contemplative” liturgy as one pastor of mine once described it. I asserted it was non-musical, and that like other Masses, contemplative people attended it. But quiet should be a part of all liturgies, both the quiet that frames contemplation and the quiet of taking a restful pause after a significant helping of God’s Word or ritual.

Parishioners, especially children, need to see the liturgy prayed and led with pace.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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