"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mass Chat: Processions and betrayal...

Palm Sunday.

I didn't participate in the procession - I know how these things end.

Interestingly, a friend sent me an email saying he was sick of church people and the general insistence everybody in the parish needs to actively participate in something.  He added: I am sick of internalizing the guilt that comes with non-participation.

I agreed with him.  I'm sick of all the guilters online as well.  You can't do this or that, you can't say that, you can't be that and Catholic, you have to support this...  Catholics have a lot of rules about rules ...

Listen to the Pope:
"It's sad to be a believer without joy and there is no joy when there is no faith, when there is no hope, when there is no law, but only rules and cold doctrine..." 
"The.. doctors of the law didn't understand.  They didn't understand the joy of the promise; they didn't understand the joy of hope; they didn't understand the joy of the covenant." 
 "They didn't know how to rejoice because they had lost the sense of joy that only comes from faith," not only did they lack faith, "they had lost the law. Because at the heart of the law is love -- love for God and for one's neighbor." 
"They only had a system of clear-cut doctrines ..." 
As "men without faith, without law and attached to doctrine," they lived in a world that was "abstract, a world without love, a world without faith, a world without hope, a world without trust, a world without God. And this is why they could not rejoice," the pope said. "Their hearts had petrified." - CNS

There are different ways of participation.  Prayer is an active participation.  Just showing up is participation.  Frequenting the sacraments - especially the sacrament of penance is participation.  Assisting at Mass devoutly is participation.  Listening to the readings is participation.

All dressed up, waving palms in the air and singing real well - who am I to judge?

Is that bad?

Pay no attention to me.


Moving on...


  1. "They didn't know how to rejoice because they had lost the sense of joy that only comes from faith," Can relate to that!

  2. We didn't participate in the procession either. Considering that many of the procession participators shouted "Crucify him!" a few days later...well...there's no particular holiness in the procession. Re the pope's statements, I find them puzzling. What, after all, is faith? Isn't it belief in something or someone? And aren't the doctrines of the Church the faith in which we believe. Can you have faith without a creed? And the denigration of doctrine is troubling. Faith is not just warm, fuzzy feelings. I agree our faith should be joyful, but there is no faith without doctrine. I'd go so far as to say without doctrine you get universal unitarianism which is basically believe whatever you want and sign up for the casino trip outside.

  3. Allow me to share this experience…

    It was one of my ‘can’t be bothered’ days when I just wanted to keep myself to myself and not speak to or engage with anyone. Why I bothered to go to Mass that morning, I don’t really know. But that’s what most pilgrims do at Medjugorje – go to daily Mass. So there I was.

    It must have been sometime in February because St James’ church was practically empty, just a group of American pilgrims, mainly, huddled together in the front pews. In front of them and to one side was a lady standing on a plinth. “Maybe she’s there to conduct the choir” I thought. But I was in no singing mood. I would stay silent and pray in my own way.

    And then the celebrating priest came to the altar and I noticed he also wasn’t in a speaking mood either because he started to ‘sign’ the Mass. This was a first for me and I assumed that there were some deaf people in the congregation. They turned out to be most of the American group to the right of me, about 50 in number. Another person ‘voiced’ the readings while the role of the lady on the plinth was to ‘sign’ the responses of the people.

    Although deafness had impaired the speech of most of this group, they certainly didn’t hold back, and responded passionately in both voice and action.

    It was I who remained tongue-tied, not only by my own decision but by surprise at the outpouring from these deaf pilgrims. Here was I, with the gift of hearing and speech, unable to utter a sound because of my own self-centredness, yet made to listen to a wall of sound coming from the deaf group which I could not understand, but at the same time translated as pure expression of joy.

    Greatly humbled, I discovered the reason why I was at Mass that day: to praise and thank the Lord with all my heart, mind and being, and not to hold back in praising him with all that I had been blessed with.

    The deaf priest who signed the Mass was Fr Mike. He has a blog. Here’s the link.

  4. I feel like Bernice's friend in the e-ssurance commercial who said, "That's not how it works, it's not how any of this works."


  5. ~Feminine, Faithful, Free~

    I learned this one year while at the SCRC convention and from a great woman too, Rhonda Chervin. She has had a tough life but found herself free in a personal and powerful healing relationship with Christ our Lord.
    She came from a Jewish/atheist family. She became interested in the Catholic Church and was drawn to the faith not by it laws/doctrine alone - but by its love, mercy, and truth.

    When she told me that Jesus had set her free, she told us all to remember this:

    Feminine - because God our heavenly Father delights in women and we are the apple of God's eye.

    Faithful - follow the example of our Lord Jesus and his Saints. Love God with all of your heart, love and follow the commandments and love of neighbor. Like St. Paul says, "the most important of these is love."

    Free - Free to live in God, to worship Him without fear and to share the Good News by being a witness to others.

    No amount of doctrine will make me a Saint if my heart is closed and I love only those who love me in return. I ask for a heart of flesh and all that it entails...to be pierced like Christ for the sake of the world and neighbor.

    Terry, that is participation in the Church to me.

    Let's pray to be living stones so as to give all the glory to God!

  6. I like the procession with palms. I don't like kissing the cross on Good Friday - so I just touch it reverently instead.

  7. Years ago I was at a Downtown church in Minneapolis and it was very crowded - the congregation stayed in place for the procession after the palms were blessed and the priests and choir processed in, proceeded by bare foot liturgical dancers in a pale violet rayon tunic-like swath of fabric over matching danskins, carrying the incense, twirling and bowing lifting the bowls of incense dramatically - I burst out laughing, and was so embarrassed because I couldn't stop - everytime I tried, it got worse. I finally got it together however.

    1. Oh, laughter in church! That's the most uncontrollable reaction. Once I was reading with a very short lector. When she got up there, she disappeared completely behind the ambo. I was sitting where the entire congregation could see me, but I just couldn't stop. Sitting right across from me was the pastor.

  8. Terry, not sure what made me laugh more - imagining the dancers or you laughing lol!


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