The Armchair Liturgist: Devotions at Mass

If you’ve visited Zenit’s liturgy Q&A this week, hold your post. But if you haven’t, what would you say if somebody suggested your parish do the Divine Mercy Chaplet (or some other devotion) during Mass. Would it change your answer if they promised to be very prayerful and reverent?

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Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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11 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Devotions at Mass

  1. Anne says:

    I certainly would tell them that no matter how reverent they tried to be it would not be appropriate during a Eucharistic celebration which demands our full, conscious and active participation. I would try to encourage this devotion perhaps before Mass or after or for another gathering specifically for this kind of prayer.
    I haven’t read the Zenit Q&A…here goes….

  2. Abe Delnore says:

    Yeah, absolutely not. Mass takes precedence over anything else going on in the church. Their prayerfulness and reverence isn’t the point. I shouldn’t even be worrying about their devotion interrupting the Mass. The Mass should interrupt their devotion.

    This is such an easy pitch that I’m sure Zenit is going to say the exact opposite.

  3. Tony says:

    I love the DMC, but not during Mass. 10 minutes before, 10 minutes after is fine, but not between “in the name of the Father…” and “The Mass is ended…”

  4. Marilyn says:

    I would tell “them” there is no higher, more perfect prayer than the Mass and Vatican II did not intend for individual experimentation with the liturgy!

  5. Personally, I’d say:

    “You are free to do whatever you wish. If you wish to say the Rosary, or the Angelus, or any of a number of devotions including the Jesus Prayer or any of the Offices, you are free to do so.

    “In point of fact, it might be more profitable for you to do so than to listen to the overwhelming majority of homilies being emitted by most RC priests and deacons, or to listen to most of the hymnography committed in the last 30 or so years, or most RC liturgists’ attempts at “creative” liturgy.

    “However, if the point of your worship is to unite yourself to Christ through His Kingdom, Passion, Sacrifice, Death and Resurrection, and if the Divine Liturgy is the icon and connexion of those saving deeds (and is actually being served by people who are working to manifest such an iconography), then you might be missing out on what Our Lord would call “the better part.

    “But it is your choice. Whatever any other busybodies might say.”

  6. Sorry, Todd, but from what you had written in this post, it appeared to be from the point of view of what should the response be if a parishioner or other lay person wanted do a private devotion during Liturgy.

    From what the Zenit article says, however, (which I didn’t read specifically because you requested that I not respond if I had read it), what’s being discussed is the propriety of a priest or liturgist adding devotions to the structure of the Divine Liturgy.

    In that case, I’d say:

    “The Divine Liturgy is a gift which has been given by the Holy Spirit to the Church through that Spirit’s main means of speaking to us: through Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Authority of the Church. If you act outside of that Scripture, Tradition and Teaching Authority to add to or take away from the Divine Liturgy, then you simply bring upon yourselves God’s curse, as stated by the Prophet Jerimiah: “God’s curse is on those who do the things of the Lord carelessly” (Jer.48.10)

  7. Anne says:

    Bernard…hopefully you are not serious about threatening with “God’s curse”? I would rather take the pastoral approach. We should always speak with the love and peace that Christ showed others. Why be scary about it?

  8. Threatening with “God’s curse”? Moi?

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Are you suggesting that I am engineering or otherwise invoking “God’s curse”? God forbid.

    However, I have noticed in scripture that God is “not a tame lion”, but that He has some specific likes and dislikes.

    Specifically, He has rejected the Sacrifice of Cain, which consists of people giving to God what they want to give, rather than what God has asked of us. Judgmental? Surely. But that is God’s judgment, not mine.

    In scripture, we see that the sons of Aaron were destroyed for burning nonprescribed incense before the Holy of Holies. We are also told that a high priest of the Lord was destroyed for using his own hands to prevent the Ark of the Covenant from falling from its place. Hell, even Steven Spielberg has a good sense that it might not be a reasonable thing to seek to uncover or to misuse that Ark. Should we therefore stop reading Scripture, or watching the movies?

    In the psalms, and more particularly, Psalm 51, God has rejected the sacrifice of pride, and has told us that the sacrifice which He accepts is that of a broken heart, which among other things includes obedience and faithfulness. I see little of that in Kumbayaland. Is it threatening to point this out? If so, so be it. The threat is not mine, however, but what I observe of what God has said.

    Has God not spoken through the Prophet Jeremiah to say that “the curse of God is on those who do the things of the Lord carelessly”? If such is actually the case, would it not be better to inform people of this, rather than let them go ahead and suffer that curse? Is not that what the Prophets had and have repeatedly done.

    And, for the sake of argument, is it more “pastoral” to allow sheep and shepard to wander off a cliff, or perhaps instead to inform them that there may be danger ahead of them? Would it be “loving” and “peaceable” to let them drop, or more helpful to say, “it might not be a good thing to do this.”?

    Do please let me know.

  9. Todd says:

    “God has rejected the sacrifice of pride, and has told us that the sacrifice which He accepts is that of a broken heart, which among other things includes obedience and faithfulness. I see little of that in Kumbayaland.”

    It might be said that little enough of that is seen in any kind of religion-land. By bringing that unfortunate song into the criticism, I think you might leave yourself open to others questioning your prophetic credentials.

  10. To quote that unfortunate prophet, Pontius Pilate, “Quod scripsi, scripsi”, Todd.

    I could as well say that I have seen little enough of brokenheartedness in whole bunches of places, including Kumbayaland. Does this mean that Kumbayaland does not exist, or that the word might adequately evoke a certain time and place (hopefully long gone)?

    And, if one were to reject what someone was to say because of that person’s choice of words (such as “kumbayaland”), would that not simply be an example of the use of “ad hominem” argument? And am I to be afraid that someone will reject my thoughts because they cannot think?

    Sorry, but where I am right now, the temperature and the humidity are both in the 90s. I’m going down to the beach. See ya.

  11. Jimmy Mac says:

    The DMC during mass? Well, back in the bad old days pre-NO masses of my youth and early teen years, lots of folks said the rosary, did the stations of the cross, read their newspapers, fiddled with things and generally made the time pass by as expeditiously as possible. After all, the low mass in particular was basically for the priest (presider? we don’t need no stinking presider!) to mumble through and the rest of us to endure. Sounds as if reciting the DMC during mass is just the right thing to do during the upcoming EXTRAORDINARY liturgies for the frozen chosen.

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