Reflecting on the Liturgy

New reader Karen DiNoto made a query I’d like to draw out and offer some extended commentary.

I am a new catechist and going to be doing the dismissal and lesson this week and need some thought provoking questions on how they felt during and after the scrutinies. Any suggestions?

I offer a disclaimer first: I am not a catechist by vocation. I would have two hopes at this stage of the catechumenate year. First, that the liturgies would be good in the sense of having the richness of music, Scripture, homily, and even environment to reflect upon. Second, that the elect have, by now, been formed to look at liturgy with an attitude of reflection.

By the time the elect have reached the fifth Sunday of Lent, they should be well into a period of scrutiny and reflection. A good catechist would remind the elect to look and listen for items that will strike them during the liturgy. It can be a matter of feelings–“I felt relief, forgiveness, affirmation …” or it can be insights–“I noticed Jesus did this, I heard in the song this …”. I would treat the beginning of the dismissal period as a second go through the Liturgy of the Word, allowing the elect to relive the experience and reflect on it.

As a dismissal leader, I would mostly let the insights of the people guide the time together. I would be prepared to comment on one or two aspects if the elect didn’t raise the points. Those would be the purpose of the scrutinies, and I’d ask what was uncovered and healed, what was brought out and strengthened.

By this time of Lent, the experience of the forty days as a retreat should be well-established. I’d treat the liturgy as an experience upon which to reflect.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Reflecting on the Liturgy

  1. Joyce Donahue says:

    Those are great general questions, Todd – and a much-needed reminder to let participation guide the discussion.

    If the group seems inclined to go deeper, I would suggest that one more area questions. Since this is the Lazarus reading, I would ask if any have ever experienced significant loss… and how (or by whom or what) they were offered new life.

    That raises the concept of Paschal Mystery for them and sets the stage for the upcoming mysteries of Holy Week. If these are catechumens, for further reflection, it might be good to mention the connection between baptism and death to old life, replaced by new life in Christ. Particular words from the Gospel to focus on might be “Untie him and let him go.” How do they hope Christ will unbind them?

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