I”m about Poped out, and we’ve still got three days to go.
What I’m going to do in this post is pull out some statements from the past few talks, sections that really, as they say “spoke to me.” I think it will help me organize my thoughts for the Times gig (and I have a new one up. Nothing big, but something.), because there’s just so much I want to say…but as I said, my brain is sizzling.
(MIchael’s out of town, in Florida. Which doesn’t irritate me as much as it usually does since it’s in the 70’s today here. Anyway, he called and said, “How are you?” I said, triumphantly, “I survived!” “What?” “The Earthquake!)
(This wasn’t my first earthquake…and, I know, at such a distance from the epicenter, I don’t even have the right to say it was “my” earthquake at all. In the fall of 1973 an earthquake hit east Tennessee and I vividly remember that one.)
Oh, wait, before I do that, a little coverage of the coverage, thanks to a reader. God bless Ann Rogers, whom I can usually find no fault with in reporting, but this one misses the point just a little – part of it’s the headline, for which reporters have no responsibility, but still…
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
In a speech that delved into difficult issues from abortion to immigration and sexual abuse, Pope Benedict XVI charged U.S. bishops to do a better job of making sure that Masses are vibrant invitations to follow Jesus Christ — or risk losing their church by attrition.
“Do people today find it difficult to encounter God in our churches? Has our preaching lost its salt? Might it be that many people have forgotten, or never really learned, how to pray in and with the church?” he asked 350 assembled bishops in response to a pre-selected question about a decline in Mass attendance.
“I think we are speaking about people who have fallen by the wayside without consciously having rejected their faith in Christ, but, for whatever reason, have not drawn life from the liturgy, the sacraments, preaching.”
It’s really so fascinating, because it points to the vast – vast – chasm between what the Pope is talking about – and hey, it’s not just the Pope – when Catholic tradition means when “drawing life” from the liturgy is the topic, and the meaning in our culture.
How do we draw life from the liturgy? Through the Presence of Jesus Christ, our participation in the Sacrifice – the more we are aware from that the more we participate – which means, in this sense, the more we internally join ourselves to the action – that is how we draw life.
Not how much our emotions are excited or how lively things are. In fact, the traditional Catholic sensibility minimizes emotiveness in liturgy because, of course, the emotions are not trustworthy.
But what it all comes down to are externals v. internals. The world sees a call to drawing life from the liturgy and thinks that means “lively,” while what the Pope means is an orientation and openness to, well, Life.
More later on different topics. Got to go strip some wallpaper border.