Thursday, April 12, 2012

Participant and spectator in the cosmic liturgy

As MC in my parish where I was running around madly and was almost obsessively attentive to ensure that nothing went wrong and also director of the Latin choir which sang for the Palm Sunday, Good Fri and Easter Sunday morning Masses and services, I feel not only drained but also rather empty and unfulfilled. I remember the blissful time when I was a mere attendee at the Holy Week celebrations. Just being there, in the moment, allowed me to be much more prayerful during each of the celebrations, with my attention focussed completely in the unfolding liturgical action. It also allowed me to do some things which are dear to my heart, such as kneeling throughout the Canon and for Holy Communion, which my current role disqualifies me from doing as it breaks the unity of posture of the liturgical ministers. Other pious gestures such as removing my shoes for the Veneration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday also have to be cast aside as in the role of MC, I am accompanying the priest and this cannot be done. Even my own private prayer time during the Mass seems to have been lost.

I remember just observing the most moving of Rites, such as the Washing of the Feet and kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament as the procession made its way to the Altar of Repose, the procession and unveiling of the Holy Cross during Good Fri, the blessing of the Easter Fire and the Paschal Candle, the baptisms of the elect etc. Now, it's a nervous attempt to ensure that everything flows well.

A conductor can't really enjoy music. And a proof reader finds it hard to enjoy a good read. There's always the technical side of a certain piece of music that a conductor hears that distracts him, likewise the proof reader casts a critical eye on the use of words, seeing ways of improving the text. I guess it's the same for MC's. The liturgy becomes more of something to get right than a transcendent act to immerse oneself in.

Sigh. I wish I could go back to those simple days. Anyone feel the same way?

3 comments:

The Hymn Selector said...

True, but someone's gotta do it.

Andrew said...

Someones gotta do it indeed. But sometimes, I'd much rather be just a face in the crowd, but such is the nature of service, not do to what you want to do, but to do the things that need to be done.

Franciscans the past, present and future. said...

True Andrew, I am also all drenched witnessign for Christ amogn students at the seminary. That i also ask the same question, "do i do this for Jesus or for myself?" I think to keep a balance the person must be a eprson of rpayer; that was why Jesus prayed often when we was busy.