Monday, February 16, 2009
Random, Likely Ill-conceived Thoughts about....
It's been kind of a brutally long "weekend," in terms of performance demands at the parish.
We received the request to "cover" the Vigil and Mass (of Resurrection) for a local, beloved deputy sheriff who passed from injuries as a result of an accident on duty. Those were to happen on Thursday/Friday. Same day of that request, one of my chorister's mother passed as well, with her funeral Mass scheduled in a neighboring city's parish for the same Friday, but fortunately in the morning, so a time conflict did not arise. We had also a Saturday wedding Mass, Saturday Vigil, two Sunday morning choral Masses and then an episcopal liturgy at which a number of our priests were elevated to papal chaplains (monsignor juniors!) and prelates (monsignor seniors-of which that number included my boss!) So, by five in the evening, Sunday, Wendy and I hit the liturgy wall.
Good news: one of us got a good night's sleep.
Bad news: one more funeral tomorrow AM.
Anyone remember an old Jack Miffleton song, "But Then Comes the Morning"? Yes, Jack, and your point is....?
Lately I've noticed, both in my own parishes and in the liturgy forums/blogs I visit regularly, more buzz about the quantity and volume of sung participation. In the cyberforums, everyone revisits the same old cul-de-sacs such as repertoire, who's legislated to sing what, when..., what media encourages actual, personal participation, etc. That's all very nice and well.
But, maybe it's the cynic in me (because my positive attitude is at the "paperboy" level-you do the math), but it seems that if you want to hear a Catholic congregation sing like Mennonites, schedule a Mass that they WANT to attend for reasons other than obligation, however noble and obedient. At both of the funerals, though the repertoire choices were vastly different, those sung portions assigned to the congregations were taken up fully and purposefully. At the Sunday afternoon installation liturgy, same thing. Similar, "festal" situations occur on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Thanksgiving and other samesuch Masses that are, technically non-obligatory.
People who assemble at a liturgy that has an integral overlay, or purpose such as to commemorate and associate that liturgy with the legacy of a person or historically laudable event seem willing to dispose of whatever rationales to which they normally adhere, and "let go."
What would the soundscape be like, if Sunday Mass became Must See TV, a weekly Superbowl, 7th game, NBA All-Star, the Oscars-type of event weekly?
It's apparent to me folks sing communally best when something reminds them of the reality that no moment in time ought be taken for granted, as time and our station in it can be radically altered or removed from our being with one another in less than a moment.
Isn't that what Emmanuel gave us; and that the Christ died for?
Yes, we are forever obliged to God Almighty for being Creator and having made us His creatures. But, forgive me, Lord, if I wonder whether our best interests in loving You and then others as we would love ourselves, is best served by legislation of that command that is certainly written appropriately in our catechisms, but maybe not burned into our hearts.