Monthly Archive: November 2006

More Mennonite Notes from a Catholic University…

I love mass. I love the reverence, the ritual, the community, the unity, the history and recognition of the “cloud of witnesses” in the celebration of the Saints, the fact that across the entire world people are celebrating in the embodiment of the Divine in our world at the same time…Over the last year and half at Notre Dame, I have let myself become more and more engulfed in mass. It calms me. It blesses me. And the spirit moves. I feel more and more that I am coming to understand what transubstantiation means. I think this understanding actually came more as a result of backpacking this summer and reading a lot of Mystics, than actually participating in mass. How can I not understand or recognize the embodiment of the Divine—In the trees, in the Earth, in Eyes that shine, in conversations that churn my stomach, and yes, in the wine and bread? God is present in our communion, in our gathering, and in our taking of the body and blood. The closer I feel to the Catholic community and the more I feel I understand the Eucharist, the more difficult mass has become. I think Brian’s blog sums up the feelings I have in mass better than I could ever articulate myself. So, it is a struggle—a struggle of exclusion and one that has brought me to tears more than once. But without it, would communion mean what it does to me now? I do think there is something missing in the Mennonite church in regards to the sacraments—or maybe it was just missing for me. I needed a deep understanding of what our joining as a community in the Spirit means—what it calls us to. I sat at the front of the Basilica the other night for mass. I witnessed the enjoining of the community as the line people slowly trickled toward the “body of Christ.” It was a beautiful way to pray, witnessing each person coming together with the rest through Christ in us. (more…)

Right Worship

“One reason why we Christians argue so much about which hymn to sing, which liturgy to follow, which way to worship is that the commandments teach us to believe that bad liturgy eventually leads to bad ethics. You begin by singing some sappy, sentimental hymn, then you pray some pointless prayer, and the next thing you know you have murdered your best friend.” — Stanley Hauerwas, The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life, p.89