Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Recovery of the Sacred

Another in the series of articles by Bishop Serratelli. The first, "The Loss of the Sacred", was reported here.
The Dutch historian and philosopher of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw once said, “The modern man is not capable of finding himself in several circles simultaneously as his primitive cousins did. ‘When we dance, we do not pray; when we pray, we do not dance. And when we work, we can neither dance nor pray.’” In a word, the sense of the sacred has disappeared. But not completely nor irretrievably.

The Liturgy of the Church is a moment where all the dimensions of our lives come before the living God. It is the place where we have an active encounter with God. It is the place, therefore, where we can rediscover the sacred in our lives.

The Second Vatican Council began the liturgical reform with the hope of reinvigorating this sense of the Presence of God who comes to meet us in love. Two generations after the Council, we are still searching for a deeper sense of the sacred in our Liturgy. We now realize some of the ways in which this can be accomplished. It is good to look at a few of these. (my emphasis)
Bishop Serratelli highlights several aspects on what hinders a recovery of the Sacred and what we should do to ensure that the Sacred is restored to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Some hindrances mentioned are (my comments in []):

Certain settings demand their own particular etiquette. [Such as our dress and conversations]

In church, we need to cultivate a sense of God who is present to us. [Observation of periods of silence and prayer]

Creativity is not an authentic rule for celebrating the Church’s Liturgy. [Respect for the Liturgy as a gift and the public prayer of the Church, not something we make up as we go along]

Observing the norms of the Liturgy helps to create a profound sense of the sacred in each of us at Mass. [Need anything more be said?]

Today it has become commonplace at the end of the Liturgy to recite a litany of gratitude for all those who, in some way or another, have made the celebration beautiful. [With clapping and applause, forgetting that it is Jesus who made it all possible, not the choir (or the "band"), or the lectors or the (God forbid) "dancers"...

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