Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cure for the Liturgical Blues


Philothea Rose writes about not wanting to participate in liturgical discussions any more because they take her focus off of worshipping Jesus when she is at Mass (read the post, it's a good one). Many others have posted their bravas to this post.

I haven't run into this particular discussion problem (perhaps because I seem to constantly get sucked into predestination versus free will conversations at Protestant sites ... so I'm looking in another direction).

At any rate, I thoroughly understand Philothea's desire. The best book I have found that has helped me move further toward "reaching Jesus" in the Mass is a small and easy to read. It puts the Mass focus strictly where we should have it ... on the Eucharist and our response to it.

Dubruiel shows how to balance the Mass both as a holy banquet and as a holy sacrifice. Too often these days the sacrificial aspect is left out.
Participation in the Eucharist requires that we die to ourselves and live in Christ. If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist, then sacrifice is the key. This is what has been lost on many of us and if we want to reclaim all the spiritual riches that are available to us we must relearn what it means not only to "offer it up" but indeed to offer ourselves up.
Dubruiel uses an acronym to help remember the steps we can take to join ourselves in sacrifice to the sacrifice of Jesus.
Serve (obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist)
Adore (put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance)
Confess (believe in God's power to make up for your weaknesses)
Respond (answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the body of Christ)
Incline (listen with your whole being to the Word of God)
Fast (bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist)
Invite (open yourself to an encounter with Jesus)
Commune (accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist)
Evangelize (take him and share the Lord with others)
Each step is explored in a different chapter and every single one had "aha" moments for me, sometimes from Church Father quotes, sometimes from the Further Helps at the end of each chapter, and quite often from Dubruiel's own insights. Each chapter also includes "Lessons from a Three Year Old" to highlight points. This sounds corny but it didn't come off that way. In many cases, that three year old was much wiser his single mindedness than an adult.

I do not have time to write the review that this book deserves but did want to get mention of it out there for anyone who would benefit from it. Now that I think of it, I don't know any Catholic who would not benefit from it.

I will let the book speak for itself by posting a series of quotes in the days to come.
Serve the Lord

If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist you have to check your "I" at the door. The "I" that wants things, that endlessly critiques the way things are done, and that demands things be done in exactly a certain way (meaning "my way," not God's way). I think it was Peter Kreeft who once said that the famous song, "I Did It My Way," sung by such great artists as Frank Sinatra and Elvis, is the national anthem of hell. The way of the world may be to do things "our way" but the way of Christ is to do things his Way. We therefore consciously have to leave "my way" at the door and in exchange take up an attitude that asks "how may we be of service to you, Lord, in this celebration of the Eucharist?"

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