Beyond Boredom the Beauty of the Mass

13 Sep

He then is beautiful in Heaven, beautiful on earth;…beautiful in ‘laying down His life’; beautiful in ‘taking it again’: beautiful on the Cross.

    – St. Augustine

  There is one objection often raised by many as to their absence in the pews on Sundays. Some perhaps object based on stringent definitions of theological concepts and contentious dogmas. Others perhaps object based on a historical tradition that has been at times marked by petty infighting and even violent conflict. But there may be one objection that eclipses all others in both its strength and regularity.

  There are few criticisms more insidious and damning than this: boring.

  The objections most mentioned are that Sunday Mass is profoundly dull and uninspiring, that, in reality, nothing ever “happens.” Our church experience thus can very often see the center of our life of worship as both unimportant and unequivocally ugly.

  It may be true that your local parish might lack in even a moderately competent choir, and the homily preached might border on coma-inducing. But the essence of the Mass is something so outrageously paradoxical, earth-shattering, and beautiful, that it should and must eclipse these occasionally weak moments that may distract us from its center, its true heart.

  If, in the midst of the stupor you may experience during your Sunday church experience, you should open your eyes and ears to the reality of the Mass, you will find yourself transported to an event. You are no longer now in the safe confines of your pew but, in fact, at the historical moment when God decided to forever make humanity–including yourself–right and just again. In this moment, when God expressed his penultimate love for humanity by his paradoxical death on a cross, he forever shocked us out of our slumber. He forever released his splendor on to the world which, perhaps at times too beautiful to bear, we could scarcely now live without if we knew of its awful and transformative power.

-Tim DeCelle

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