July 02, 2010

Joy in Repetition

Is Mass boring? I used to think so. Many think so. If people didn't think the Mass was boring they wouldn't make so many "innovations" to it.

I posit that the Mass is not boring, it's that the Faithful don't "get it". Most Catholics have no idea what the responses mean, much less the meaning of what actions the priest is performing. Symbolism is definitely lost as most of us need to be kicked in the head to recognize the Lord. Maybe we should give ourselves a break, after all the Apostles had the Lord literally right in front of them and failed to recognize Him time and again.

The Mass is repetitive, it is familiar. Like most things that are familiar we take them for granted. I used to take my Mom and brother for granted and then one day they were dead and now I'm sorry that I did not spend more time with them.

Does familiarity really breed contempt? Is repetition to be despised?

Are you tired of hearing your family tell you they love you? Does a child saying "Mommy,I love you!" over and over again just drive you insane? Do you get tired of pushing that button for hours on the slot machine at the casino? Do you weary of dropping that fishing line in the water over and over? Can you bare to lift that spoon with the divine lemon gelato one more time to your exhausted lips?! If I have to decorate one more Christmas tree ever again in my life I will not be responsible for my actions!

Of course not.

There can be joy in repetition. Joy in repetition depends upon how important the action is to us and how much we love it.

The Mass reveals its depths to me everytime I attend. Every time I attend I find something new. "So ancient and so new"-I think a really important Doctor said that once. I learn something new; both about the Faith and about my relation to it. I wonder anew at the Sacrifice. I thank God again! Thank God He is not tired of hearing us talk to him over and over in prayer. Mercifully, He never tires of forgiving us. Hopefully, He finds joy in the repetition of absolution or we are done for.

As the calender unspools and the rhythm of our church year unfolds, how can we not find joy in repetition? Advent is approaching, every Saturday is for the Virgin, Friday is for Him, Ember Days, Ferias, Easter follows Christmas. We live it every year just so but is every Christmas just like all the others? Is every Easter the same? Are we always the same? Yes and, yet, no.

Give thanks for repetition. Why are you here? #1 in the Baltimore Catechism, you may repeat it with a lack of enthusiasm but find the joy in that you still remember it. It's as true now as it was then.

You may leave the Mass but it's always there. Waiting. Isn't the repetition welcome when you've been away? It's like bike riding. Once you learn, you never forget. But, eventually, you have to take the training wheels off.

4 Comments:

Blogger Angela M. said...

3 days in the temple waiting for mom and pop, 3 years with smelly, often stupid fisherman, eating fish, fish and more fish, 40 days in the desert, 39 lashes, 3 hours on a cross...Christ must have been awfully tired of the repetition too.

July 02, 2010 11:48 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Angel Baby: Excellent points!

July 03, 2010 7:23 AM  
Blogger Argent said...

Every day is a new day of conversion. Every Mass is a repetition of that Sacrifice for our salvation. How can one get tired of these? Daily we live our life bathed in God's mercy. Are we so jaded not to see what a gift it is?

If Mass is boring, perhaps I was not properly disposed. Perhaps I was not prepared, as I would to go out on a date...is my hair just right, is my outfit just right, is my lipstick smeared, is this perfume too much?

Yet for Mass, we approach it with less care. Am I meeting my Bridegroom? Is it the Lord of the Universe into whose Presence I dare to approach? Oh, if we only kept a scrap of this knowledge, Mass would not be boring. Instead, we would be like Magadalen, tearfully wiping our Master's feet with our hair, love swelling our hearts.

July 12, 2010 12:06 PM  
Blogger Californian said...

Yes! This may be true and I am sure accepted belief.
But, I wonder what would be the viewpoint of a Pastor.

January 11, 2011 4:47 PM  

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