At the NPM Mass on Wednesday, Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and NPM Episcopal Moderator, gave an outstanding homily. I would very much like to post a transcript if one were to become available.
The homily began by quoting Emily Dickinson, who compared being at the earthly "services"--church services--to being in heaven. It was a beautiful introduction, inviting the congregation to listen on multiple levels as, next, the Scriptures were unfolded. Among the memorable figures presented was that of the sentinel or watchman for Israel.
As Wednesday was the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, the homily concluded with a meditation on Jesus as the source. A challenge was presented: since the Council, has our pastoral success been limited to clearing pathways to the source? Is it time now to focus on leading to the Source Himself?
This last idea rings true to me, if I understand it properly. Active participation, for example, is an important means. It is not a goal. God is the goal, "life on high in Christ Jesus." Active participation can lead to personal appropriation of the riches of our faith, and this personal appropriation leads to God.
One sees the active participation of those who subscribe to Magnificat, for example. People who wish to know more about the Liturgy, who probably attend daily Mass as much as possible, want to know how to pray consonantly with the Mass. They think about the antiphons and collects. They take the Mass home with them, to prepare for it and reflect upon it.
The homily was exemplary in every way. My usual attitude towards homilies is to try to take at least one good, beautiful, useful thing out of them. But from the very beginning it was evident that this attitude was not needed or helpful in this case. (I'd actually had this sense before in that very church, when now-Bishop Malloy preached on the mysteries of the Trinity on Trinity Sunday.) Like when the Fathers of the Church preached, the better idea is to try to take in everything, to let it change one's mind and heart, and to rest for a pleasant while in the providence of God, who gives us leaders and teachers in the faith.
Nathan Knutson, cathedral and diocesan director of sacred music, performing artist, father, lecturer on sacred music
Kathleen Pluth, S.T.L., hymn writer, catechist, and schola director, currently studying for the STD in Rome