Sunday, March 31, 2013

Some Wonderful Words from Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Simplicity and authenticity will bring a renewal to the liturgy from within– from the beauty of the faith and sacrifice of the priests and the people. I speak from experience. I have worshipped God with a Monteverdi Mass in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. I have worshipped with the world’s finest choir at Kings College in Cambridge. I have worshipped in monastic austerity at Mont St Michel, Quarr Abbey and many other beautiful monasteries. But I have also worshipped with simplicity and authenticity in a village church in El Salvador in the heat and sweat and smell of poverty. I have worshipped at Catholic Charismatic Conferences and at big circus tent AmChurch churches and on a little folding table at summer camp with kids in shorts and T-shirts.

In each case it was the simplicity and authenticity of love in the hearts of the faithful which made the difference. That’s what I care about, and if it can be done with mozzettas and red shoes and big miters and splendiferousness, I like that too, but I don’t mind if they’re absent as long as the simplicity, honesty and authentic love of Christ and his people is there.

Read the whole article here.

I can't agree more with the good Father. To me the most important consideration when it comes to the liturgy is not the presence or absence of guitars, or of clapping, or of this or that vestment. It's not the language used, or the choir, or any of those other things. I'm not saying these things aren't important, because they are important.

But the real question is; where is the emphasis? If the emphasis is not upon communion, consecration, prayer and the Eucharist, then who cares whether the sacrament is celebrated with impeccable taste or not?

I think the most moving Mass in which I ever participated was celebrated in a hotel conference room, as part of a Catholic pre-marriage course. And in general, I prefer plain and simple and music-less Masses. Of course, that is a matter of personal taste, and not necessarily of good taste.

But I do find that, in such Masses, the emphasis is more likely to be in the right place than it is in Masses where people come for an aesthetic experience.

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