January 6, 2019 – Liturgical Ruminations by Fr. Pat

The last time I spoke to you, I mentioned that the language that we use at Mass is our use of certain words, gestures, postures, and rituals. This Language is a part of how we ex-press ourselves.
By looking at the Language we use, we discover something about ourselves and our relationship with God. And by discovering some-thing about ourselves in this relationship, that bond that exists between us may grow stronger. When we understand, for example, the culture of a foreign nation, then we ourselves can have a better relationship and under-standing with the people of that nation Other-wise, they would be “foreign.” So too it is with our worship of God. By looking at what we do and by understanding what we do, that Faith, that Relationship of Love, may grow stronger.
Rituals, postures and gestures simplify this relationship. If a picture speaks a thousand words, our ways of acting do the same. During the Institution Narrative (some people call it the Eucharistic Prayer), when the priest imposes his hands over bread and wine, and acts in the Person of Christ, we know that some-thing special is taking place. Outside of the Narrative Prayer, they are just actions and words. When put together, however, we know that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. We may not know the How, so to speak, but we do know that it occurs. And when it occurs, we know that God is present in our midst.
They help define who we are. Look at your own family. There may be things that your particular family does, which everyone in the family understands. Those particular gestures help define who you are and unites you as a family. Rituals in the Church do the same. When we are on the same page, speaking the same language, we are drawn to one another. The Eucharist helps us define ourselves as worshipers and as Catholics. It draws us closer to the Lord.
Some things to think about: When you visit another parish, what are the particulars of that parish that would define them? What are the similarities that you would connect to?

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