[quote=cecelia]I was watching a special on Arlington and the rituals which the Marines perform during the changing of the guard. The people are always mesmerized by the precision and the exactness and the timelessness of the ritual. Everything, and I do mean everything involved in the ritual has importance. The ritual embodies a power and serves as a conduit to sense of something other than ourselves. That it is a ritual and that it stays the same signifies or underscores its importance. In addition the PBS special showed the meticulousness involved in putting together the soldier’s uniform. Every aspect of his uniform is inspected and his shoes are shined for 8 hours would you believe! The effect of all of this on the audience is palpable. People are transformed, moved, transfixed upon witnessing the rituals at Arlington. There’s no talking, there’s no irreverence, there’s no indifference. Everyone is moved, everyone stands a little straighter, everyone steps outside himself for that moment. As a matter of fact for those of you who viewed President Reagan’s funeral, who among us could say that we were not moved by Mrs. Reagan’s military escort? He was absolutely magnificent, and through him, I was able to come in contact with the virtues of goodness, honor, duty, etc. His dress, his demeanor, his posture all served as a conduit to the transcendent good Now if Arlington can do that, if a man in military dress can do that, just think of what the Mass can do when it is allowed to fully express what it is – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass–with the most sublime event in the world occurring, that is the re-creation of the sacrifice on Calvary–and a constant reminder of the meaning of the Incarnation which is Christ unconditional love for us. Now shouldn’t every gesture, word, song, posture, dress bring forth this reality? The rituals of the Mass should involve all our senses as Incarnate people, so that we may have access, as much as earthly possible, to the Divine…Sadly the Mass in the way it’s being enacted today does not transmit such a reality. It’s occluded by casualness and the focus on us. So the more the Mass comes down to our level, the more we lose sight of its essence and the more it manifest itself in our dress, posture, etc. Now for those who say that it doesn’t matter, well, I can say that we would not let that attitude be our guide for a job interview or a first date. So I cannot understand for the life of me why we insist on our right to be casual in our dress, posture, reception at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Everything that is done at the Mass should take us out of ourselves; the music, the incense, the intonations, the responses, the reception of the Eucharist, etc. This hour on Sunday should leave us awestruck, but sadly it does not. We come in casually, and we dash out and dare anyone to say anything about it by accusing them of the worst sin possible these days — judgmentalism. Meanwhile the transcendence of the Mass (in many areas) is disappearing and as a result we’re losing our conduit to the Divine. Does anyone recall how the world, the entire world, was absolutely transfixed by all things Catholic during the death of John Paul, the Interregnum,and the election of Benedict? Why was the world transfixed? Ritual, Transcendence, Timelessness. Supernaturalness. The world responded. The funeral? The world responded. The conclave, with the cardinals processing into the Sistine Chapel and into eternity? The world responded. The bells? The bells, Habaemus Papum (sp?)? The world responed. The world needs ritual. it needs this conduit even as it seeks to tear all traces of ritual down in the name of progress. But we know what the world needs. It needs all things Catholic in all its full audacious Catholicity, and if we don’t endow the world with our Catholicity which begins and ends at the Mass in all its mystery, majesty, and splendor, then ladies and gentlemen we have done the world a grave disservice which has eternal ramifications.
Thanks be to God.
Easily one of the finest postings I have ever seen on these forums.
You hit the nail on the head. To steal/modify one of ABp. Sheen’s famous lines:
There are not 100 Catholics who truly disagree with your posting, yet there are thousands who will reject it because it negatively impacts their personal agendas.
Thank you. You made my day.