How the Liturgy is Healing Medicine for Strident Times

07-25-2021From the PastorFr. Charlie Goraieb

It is hard to describe our times as anything but contentious. Loud, strident protests often predominate over reasoned discourse and thoughtful argumentation.

To be sure, every era has had, and has needed, protest and public opposition to injustice. There is a time and a place for loud protest and the use of memorable sound bites.

However, it is the predominance of loud protest and civil disobedience that stands out today. Sound bites, slogans, and simplistic “war cries” have to a large extent replaced thoughtful, reasoned discourse. Volume, power, and visually #ashy techniques are prized; they are being used more and more. Such approaches too frequently produce more heat than light.

Consider, then, this remarkable analysis by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, written back before the Internet and social media had turned up the volume even more. Ratzinger paraphrased an insight of Gandhi’s, applied it to his analysis of our current times, and then proposed a healing remedy to restore balance:

I would like to note a beautiful saying of Mahatma Gandhi … Gandhi refers to the three habitats of the cosmos and how each of these provides its own mode of being. The fish live in the sea, and they are silent. The animals of the earth scream and shout; but the birds, whose habitat is the heavens, sing. Silence is proper to the sea, shouting to the earth and singing to the heavens. Man has a share in all three of them. He carries the depths of the sea, the burden of the earth, and the heights of the heavens in himself. And for this reason, all three properties also belong to him: silence, shouting, and singing.

Today – I would like to add – we see only the shouting is left for the man without transcendence, since he only wants to be of the earth.… The right liturgy, the liturgy of the Communion of the Saints, restores totality to man. It teaches him silence and singing again by opening him to the depths of the sea and teaching him to #y, the angels’ mode of being. It brings the song buried in him to sound once more by lifting up his heart. . . . Right liturgy … liberates us from ordinary, everyday activity and returns to us once more the depths and the heights, silence and song … Right liturgy … sings with the angels … is silent with the expectant depths of the universe, and that is how it redeems the earth (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Collected Works, Vol 11, Theology of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, p. 460).

This is a remarkable analysis and an insightful application of liturgy and cosmology to the issues and imbalances of our day! It is in the vein of “Save the liturgy, save the world.” For indeed, only in the worship of God do we find our true selves. Only in the liturgy is our true personality formed. The human person in his glory unites the material and spiritual orders. We are capable of pregnant, expectant silence; of the joyful shout of praise and the Gospel going forth; and of the song of Heaven.

As former Pope pointed out, though, we too often are preoccupied with and value only one aspect: the shouting of the earthbound creatures of this world. But the liturgy – good and proper liturgy – trains us in all three and accomplishes the balance that is so often lost today. The liturgy is a training ground, not only for our heavenly destination, but also in what it means to be truly human.

The above article, authored by Msgr. Charles Pope, was taken from Community in Mission, July 13, 2021.

Dear Friends,

At one time or another we all are faced with di!cult and important decisions. We know that we need God’s help and grace to make the right choice. Here is a prayer by Pope St John Paul II that articulates our plea for guidance. You might want to cut it out and put it in your bible or book of prayers.

O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.

Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away
from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.

O God, judge of all humanity, help us to be included among Your chosen
ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love,
and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen.

One last point: for those who want to review (or share with others) the notes from our series on the Eucharist, they will be posted on the Pastor’s Page, found on the parish website.

God’s Blessings to all,
Fr Charlie Goraieb

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