Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's not about me

We had an interesting discussion at lunch today. One of my nurses, who is a Catholic, happened to mention that she and her family had been attending services at a local evangelical Protestant church (in addition to their weekly obligation to attend Mass, of course). I asked what she thought about it, and she said, "It's too Hollywood for me, but my kids like it."

So the discussion of course went around the table as to what drew people to worship at their respective churches, and invariably the answer was the same, that people wanted, actually expected to be satisfied and "fed" while they were at church. They want to be moved by the music and uplifted by the preacher. All of this is fine I suppose, but at its core, it would appear that those talking at lunch today have expectations which are fairly self-centered when they go to Church to worship the Ancient of Days, i.e. what is God going to do for me today?

Of course, the subject came up of how boring Mass is, and how it is almost unbearable for people to sit through Mass, especially if the priest is boring. "How many times can one person look at their watch," one person wondered? Another complained that she was offended that the Catholic Church had guidelines for the worthy reception of Holy Communion which were printed right there in the front of the misalette for everyone to see. "How dare they exclude people?" she exclaimed. Part of me was irritated by this, but another part of me found it pitiable.

I realized that I don't need flashy music or light shows or fiery preaching or any other entertainment when I go to church. Church does not have to be therapeutic for me. I don't go to Church with the expectation that I will be raised to the heights by the choir or the sermon. I don't feel that the Church owes me anything, and I don't think that receiving the Eucharist is my right as a Catholic, and if I am not worthy, I exclude myself from receiving the sacrament. Who am I to make demands of God?

I can honestly say that I never get bored at Church, and it is because I go to Church for the simple reason that the living God is present in the tabernacle, and he is worthy of adoration simply because he is. No expectation on my part whatsoever. That is enough for me, and if I am moved by the sermon or music, that's good. But if not, I walk away fulfilled with the knowledge that I have had an intimate encounter with the Lord Jesus. What can top that?

Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created. - Revelation 4:11


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