Thursday, March 25, 2010

Staunchly Liturgical and Loving It

Reflections of a Humbled Roman Catholic

I remember cutting an article out of the Mars’ Hill (my university's student newspaper) a year or two ago, which discussed the spiritual diversity of our campus. In it, one of my wise evangelical friends quite innocently mentioned what he seemed to think were two opposites: Protestant “Charismaniac” and “Staunchly Liturgical” Catholic.

At the time, I was still very much on my guard and pridefully fearful concerning my Catholic faith and the way I practised it. It was almost as if I expected to be offended by sloppy language or by ignorant hole-dwellers at every turn. The accusation that I was a polar opposite of charismatic, and ‘staunchly’ anything, really ticked me off.

‘Don’t you know, Mars’ Hill writer, that I am quite charismatic myself when given the opportunity?’ I shouted in my brain. ‘Don’t you know that you don’t know me?’ Well apparently, I didn’t know myself very well either.

While a perfect storm has been brewing in my head since reading that article and posting it on my bulletin board all those months ago, I have been trying to come up with a noble way to ‘defend myself against the haters’ who accused me of this heinous crime. Quite recently, a curious professor challenged me in class to look at what shapes my lifestyle, and I was forced to think on the spot about the culture surrounding my spirituality. I realized, to my embarrassment and excitement, that I am staunchly liturgical!

My life, spiritually and generally, is shaped around the liturgy. It is through the liturgy, through the ancient prayers of David, Mary, and the Church Fathers, repeated and relived through the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (the two official prayers of the Roman Catholic Church) that I have come to know and grow
in Christ.

It would be unthinkable for me to miss Mass on Sunday and painful for me to go too long without the sacrament of Confession. While you may catch me praying in tongues under my breath or raising my hands to our Lord in Praise Chapel, I can also be found in that posture during a recessional hymn after Mass. I am most at home on my knees before a tabernacle with a missal or rosary in my hands, praying in the ancient liturgical (but often fresh and charismatic) tradition that I am so proud to be a part of.

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