Friday, October 08, 2010

"Living the joy of the liturgy

Sue Ellen Browder, "Living the Joy of the Liturgy" (National Catholic Register, November 9, 2009):
The Divine Liturgy is received at St. Peter’s [an Eastern rite Catholic Mission tucked away in the Yokayo Valley of northern California], not just as one more duty to rush through so one can “get on with things,” but as the heartbeat of the Church, an astonishing gift from God to be treasured. Wonderstruck by the reverently joyful services at St. Peter’s, pilgrims often remark that it’s plain the liturgy is the center of people’s lives here. This is as it was meant to be. For Father Anderson says, “Liturgy is not to be distanced from life. Liturgy is the image of life.”

Subdeacon Nathaniel Slinkert suggests people are drawn to St. Peter’s “because they recognize our services present a stark contrast to the empty routine this world has to offer.” As the joyful celebration unfolds, worldly cares melt away, and worshippers find themselves on a journey from the clock-watching angst of this world into the fullness of time of the new creation. As Christ renews time, human rhythms jangled by the frenzied pressures of modern life are soothed and restored to peace and harmony with God and with neighbor. Emphasizing the “richness of the faith expressed in worship and song,” Slinkert observes, “the daily celebration of the holy services at St. Peter’s offers an abundant feast to all who desire the fruit of divine gladness.”

Although much effort has obviously gone into beautifying St. Peter’s services, Father Anderson continually reminds worshippers that man is invited to the liturgy not to perform some ancient and colorful ritual, but to participate in totality — mind, soul, heart and body — in the very life of God. At St. Peter’s, people experience a clarity about life the modern world has lost. Through the liturgy, they live the intuitively compelling truth that man is first and foremost a worshipping being who becomes joyful only when he is in right relationship with the one true God who created everything.
[Hat tip to A.S.]

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