Sunday, January 16, 2011

Liturgical Change - perfect love casts out fear

Recently, I was talking to a priest. When he realized that I am a Catholic writer, he suggested that I write something about the changes in the Liturgy. “It will be hard for the musicians and some of the people. And it will be hard for priests. We’ll probably stumble awhile, as we try to learn the new wording.”
“Oh, Father! You’ll feel just like a convert!” I told him about my year in RCIA. I was just beginning to get it.  I knew what was coming next and could say it and sing it without too much stumbling, and then I went to a later Mass. The organist was different, and she played a different arrangement. I adjusted to the new tune, and then Lent came along. And we lost the Alleluia. And the dreaded sense of being out of my element returned.
The church secretary who was sitting near us smiled then.  “Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It might be good for priests to feel like a convert every once in a while.”
She’s right. We all need to feel like we are being converted. We need to be shaken up and stirred sometimes. We need a little bit of Lent in our lives. And it is important to remember that the changes are small, in the grand scheme of things. Moreover, the changes are for our benefit, to bring all of us to the closest translation of the Latin Mass. And converts understand the importance of moving as close as one can to Christ and to His Sacred Heart. It is the reason we said yes to something that is so new, so foreign, so beautiful.
Let Mother Church
lead you.
All will be well...
Change is never easy. And this change will be particularly difficult for many. If you are a priest or a musician, offer it up for a convert who finds the entire Liturgy something of a foreign language. Offer it up for the one who longs to be part of the Church family, but feels like he will never fit in as easily as the cradle Catholic sitting beside him. Offer it up for the one who is trying to learn everything in just a few months of RCIA.
And I will let you in on a secret that every convert knows. You will look back on that part of the journey and miss it a little. You will realize that God was there. You knew it. You felt it. You relied on it.
And maybe that is the most essential part of the journey.


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