Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 23, 2005
Mass is boring? You're boring!
Jesuit says those who sit 'like a bump on a log' will not be excited
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Every time anyone says to me Mass is boring I think to myself how can being saved by Jesus Christ here and now be boring? Mass is not boring, you are boring," Jesuit Father Glenn Murray told about 100 people at a recent workshop.
"If you come to Mass to be entertained, if you come passive forcing the priest celebrant, forcing the rest of us to engage you, to entertain you, then you would find Mass extraordinarily boring."
Murray said the only way to get the full meaning of the Eucharist is through full, conscious, active participation, which means to throw oneself into everything one is doing.
"The Church teaches that to the extent that we participate (in the Eucharist), we will experience what God is doing," he said. "But if we sit there like a bump on a log we will not experience what God is doing nor will God be praised."
Speak to God
And full, active, conscious participation doesn't simply mean standing and sitting and talking, the priest said. "It is about the interior disposition. If you don't pray before coming to the Eucharist, you are not going to be able to pray at the Eucharist. If you don't speak to God during the week, it is not going to magically happen on Sunday."
Murray, director of pastoral liturgy for the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, gave a workshop on the Sunday Eucharist at St. Alphonsus Church May 14. He repeated it at Red Deer the following day. The archdiocesan Liturgy Commission and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry organized the event.
Liturgy is all about the heart, Murray said. "The point is if it stays at the level of head and does not touch your heart, you will never live it. People went out into the desert because Jesus touched their hearts with the truth."
The Eucharist is an event of great joy. "It is not mere happiness like in the pursuit of happiness but it's more of a deep down, abiding joy that cannot be taken away by sadness or trouble; it cannot be taken away by grief," he said.
"So the celebration is not simply a festivity but (an event of) great importance, great depth, great weight. It is also a proclamation of what we believe. It's a proclamation of who we are. It's a proclamation of who God is and what God has done in our midst.
"And we do this proclamation with signs and symbols. We sing, we pray, we praise."
The readings at the Eucharist are not just history lessons or little snippets from the past but always the voice of God.
At the Mass we sing the alleluia, an ancient Jewish acclamation, "because we are so excited that we are about to hear something that Jesus did or Jesus said," Murray said.
And then there is silence in every Mass. "We need the silence to meditate, to chew on, to take in what God is saying, what God is doing."
Why do some people stand during the Consecration? "I don't know what the prescription is for this archdiocese but the norm for the world is that for most of the Eucharistic Prayer we stay standing in praise and thanks of God," he said.
"We are asked to kneel for the Consecration in adoration of Christ Jesus and then we stand for the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer in a posture of intercession, asking God to do what God has done in the past. So that's the universal stance.
"But every place in the world has a different way of doing it. So in the U.S., we kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer. In England, Scotland and Wales they kneel. In parts of Africa they sit. In part of India they squat."
People usually say I'm going to "get" Communion as if Communion is something you get, lamented Murray. "Communion is not something you get. Communion is someone you encounter. You come to encounter someone; you come to encounter Christ Jesus.
"And once you have received the Lord, the Lord walks with you so you don't journey alone. And that's the reason why after Communion we go back to our place in the assembly and stand (and sing); it's because we have moved toward the Lord.
"And then once we stand before the Lord together we cannot resist an attitude of kneeling before the Lord, who is our life and our salvation in adoration and thanks and praise."
If you don't pray before coming to the Eucharist, you are not going to be able to pray at the Eucharist.
- Fr. Glenn Murray
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