Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's the Little (Liturgical) Things

One of the Holy Father's constant themes in his daily homilies is Christian joy. True Christians, according to Pope Francis, radiate joy. They cannot help themselves--it is an inevitable result of the encounter with Christ. This teaching is deeply scriptural, particularly in the letters of St. Paul, and in the teachings of saints such as St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila.

This Easter I've been thinking a lot about the various liturgical remembrances that foster joy for me personally. This morning at the daily Mass, for example, the priest decided to say the Easter sequence, which is an option every day of the octave in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. For me, little special moments like this feel like a breath of fresh air, or like a dewy spring morning, or like a loving smile.

Sometimes it may seem like liturgists are hung up on rules and regulations: "You MUST sing the proper introit! You MUST begin the Communion chant at the priest's Communion!" I can understand why these things might seem irrelevant to the Christian life. However, for me personally, they are not constricting rules, but guidance that leads to joy and freedom. I often wish I had more of the consoling contact that comes from the beautiful liturgical words that slip by so quickly even if we note them, and take them in hand, and ponder them through the day.

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