The Ultimate Test of Our Liturgical Life:
How does it change us?
November 13, 2015
There was a time in my life as a mother of teen daughters that we did not share the same excitement of attending Mass on Sunday. I distinctly remember one Sunday when our 16 year old made very clear with her attitudes and actions that she did not want to be going to Church with us. Yes, I was the kind of parent who said, “No discussion on this topic. Our family goes to Church on Sunday and you are part of our family.” She of course countered with, “You can make me go, but you can’t make me participate!” So we went. As we knelt to pray before Mass, with my daughter making clear there was to be a space left between us, I prayed: “Dear God, I got her here today, but that’s all I have the energy for, so please, I offer this child to you.” As Mass went on, by homily time the space between us was lessened as she ever-so-slightly moved closer to me. I pretended I didn’t notice. By the end of Mass when it was time for the final song, she actually picked up a hymnal and sang. I remember my prayer:
“Thank you God!”
You see, my daughter was changed by the liturgy. It was the liturgy that softened her heart and beckoned her participation. I did not have to say another word. I just had to get her there.
We are shaped by the community of believers that we gather with weekly. We are shaped by the Scripture and the Sacrament and by the people who, like us, are there to be fed. On that particular day my daughter was “fed up” with me, but she was fed by a community of believers who shared faith in Jesus Christ. Liturgy can do that to us.
The title above and the following is actually on the back cover of our missalettes:
“The ultimate test of a Christian community’s liturgical life is whether it changes lives. Does our liturgy call us to be one with the poor, to share our table with the hungry, to visit the sick, to embrace the dying (or I might add, to love
one another, even if she is your Mom)? If so, then we are well on our way to being more like Christ and our liturgy,
no matter its style, is truly a foretaste and a rehearsal of the eternal Jerusalem.”
“In the end, if the liturgy does not change us into becoming more like Christ, then it is nothing but ritual fits and follies. So, let’s celebrate the liturgy well so it may change our hearts and minds and send us into the world to make a difference.” (Quotations by Johan van Parys,
Liturgical Press, 2014)
Blessings and Peace,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC