By James Martin, S.J. (HarperOne, 2013)
The church needs to open its doors to the broken bodies of Christ.
Of all the body parts I didn’t expect my busted knee to affect, it was my eyes. But I’m here to tell you that the first thing that changes when you’re hobbling around is what you see. Specifically, what I see are obstacles: stairs, curbs, uneven pavement, short drops—all of which, if not negotiated properly, result in exquisite little bursts of pain.
For 16 years I prayed them with my entire family before Christmas.
I prayed them as a teenager, for the repose of the soul of parents of friends; I prayed them as a teacher with students to honor the school’s patroness, St. Rita of Cascia, on the days before her feast day; and just this year I prayed privately to Our Lady of Guadalupe in preparation for important meetings on U.S. Hispanic ministry. Novenas have been part of my life from its beginning and part of the life of the church since its very first centuries.
The translators of the new Mass prayers have neglected one cardinal rule: Consider your audience.
As the days dwindled before their triumphal entry, the new liturgical changes had not yet risen to even an underwhelming response. “One in being” in the creed pretty much satisfied the mass of still-loyal Catholics, since they neither understood what it meant nor cared enough to Google it. And its replacement, “consubstantial,” is hollower and even less intriguing. Parishioners’ only real problem is why such stuff even matters.
"Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" is the formal title of laypeople who distribute the Eucharist during Mass. As the title implies, there are also "ordinary ministers" - those who are literally "ordained" to the ministry namely bishops, priests, and deacons. These ministers are usually the first in order to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ, the deacon being the customary distributor of the cup.
Offering Christ's Body and Blood to fellow parishioners helps this Catholic find a fuller Communion.
"The eyes have it!" Spelled a bit differently, this phrase is a standard for reporting a positive outcome of a debate. In the act of distributing the Holy Eucharist, it means something different: that there has been a human connection as the true presence of Jesus is being celebrated and distributed.
Former denizens of evangelical arenas are finding new homes in the age-old sanctuaries of Catholicism.
It took Mark Shea four tries to become a Catholic.
Raised without any religious instruction, Shea had embraced evangelical Christianity as a college student at the University of Washington in the late 1970s. “There was a little non-denominational group that came together on the dorm floor next to mine,” Shea says. “We got together for Bible study, Saturday night praise and worship, that sort of thing.”
American Catholics who still strongly dislike the new liturgical texts once they are implemented this Advent season will have three options:
1. Stop going to church.
2. Keep attending but stop participating fully in Mass.
3. Attend, participate, and learn to live with them.