Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Road to Hell

We all know what the road to Hell is paved with, right? Good intentions.

Like many a familiar maxim, this one is easily dismissed as little more than just a catchy saying, but if we scratch the surface just a bit, we’ll find a seed of eternal truth; a truth that I dare say is becoming more and more evident in the typical modern-day liturgy.

  • Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers are hardly extraordinary any more. It seems that every Mass demands them now. Of course, the reason is to allow for more lay involvement in the liturgy - for women especially - and surely that’s a good intention.
  • When Ephesians 5 comes up in the cycle of readings, the “shorter form” allows us to skip over the most controversial part; “Wives, be submissive to your husbands as to Christ.” Avoiding the possibility of hurting anyone’s feelings is always a good intention, no?
  • This group or that is invited to stand in the middle of the Mass to receive a special blessing; those going off to college, married couples celebrating an anniversary, new parishioners, etc. The congregation is invited to express their support with a warm round of applause. Surely this attempt to make our brothers and sisters in Christ feel welcomed and affirmed is a good intention if ever there was one.

How can the road to Hell be paved with anything of the sort? Like many good intentions, the aforementioned examples involve a sort of narcissistic self-focus, specifically at a time when we are called to focus on Christ. The liturgy, properly speaking, is not all about the here and the now; it is not about the community or any particular group therein – it's about God's people being taken up in the once-for-all of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, and our hopeful anticipation of the still-to-come of His glorious return.

It's interesting to note that the road to Hell didn’t even exist until Adam and Eve turned their attention inward, and with the good intention of gaining knowledge, took their eyes off God specifically at a time when they needed Him most.

I guess you could say there’s nothing new under the sun, but that’s another expression for another day.

7 comments:

AquinaSavio: said...

Louie,

Those comments are very true. You come to realize how much the Mass has "updated" when you go to a Traditional Low Mass. The laity don't say a single word until the very end when we pray the Hail, Holy Queen, Hail Mary, and the St. Michael prayer.

It's interesting how we like to make everything about ourselves, isn't it?

paramedicgirl said...

Yes, good post, Louie.

Self love and narcissism have found their way into the Mass over what, the last forty years or so? People have made the Mass about themselves and put Jesus in the background. The huggy, kissy, hand holding, love one another types see nothing wrong with placing themselves front and centre, as long as it is done with Christian love.

They elevate these actions to the same level as a prayer, and those who desire a more traditional form of worship are dismissed as legalistic Pharisees. After all, they say, God is love and He wants us to love one another. That seems to be the depth of their catechesis.

Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

"It's interesting to note that the road to Hell didn’t even exist until Adam and Eve turned their attention inward, and with the good intention of gaining knowledge, took their eyes off God specifically at a time when they needed Him most."

Well said!

Patrick said...

"God is love and He wants us to love one another."

That is all well and good, but unfortunately these people take it into the level of:

"Love one another and by that I mean you should all be touchy-feely, hug each other as hard as you can during the Liturgy."

Michael Leggett said...

The Novus Ordo Mass, has become a Hotbed Of SELF, as opposed to Orienting to God:

"Hymns" are expression of Self, rather than of Worship of "The One";

& remember that a Priest, who was excommunicated by virtue of membership in a Proscribed Society(Masons) & had no authority to act, by manner of his excommunicated status, wrote this Mass, aided by members of other Sects.

AquinaSavio: said...

Patrick, that is a good point. It is amazing how prominent hugging is at my Church...especially among the Youth.

Shirley said...

Guess that goes along with the "hymn" "They will know we are Christians by our love" that seems to be the favorite song at the end of our Mass. (sigh)