Sunday, 1 April 2007

A Poor Mass Attender.

Palm Sunday today. The red vestments are out, Holy Week has begun.
My mass attendance has been poor during Lent. I hadn't been for two Sundays in a row before Today. What is worse, I am away over Easter and will likely miss Mass on Good Friday due to inability to find a Catholic Church. Sunday should be alright.
It's a shame because I think Easter is what it's all about. It is the highlight of the religous year, what the rest of it is all about.
Not Christmas. Anyone can be born, dieing to redeem mankind and rising again, that's less common.

I'm not going to get all evangelical here, that's not my style. This is MY religion, probably not yours. I do however always feel myself somehow with a clean slate again when I take mass. I'm not a good Catholic, but I'm probably a devout one.

Watching the Gospel reading being done- and it's a long one, going from the Last Supper through to the Crucifiction, one cannot help but be drawn in, whatever was actually on your mind when you came in. It doesn't occupy much of my thoughts for much of my life, but when it does it always hits me, possibly the greatest act of Love anyone ever did.

I can't repent in advance for the serious sin I am going to commit by missing Good Friday, but I already feels the pangs of remorse.

But then Christ would probably remind me of the prodigal son.

I have always found that parable to speak volumes to me. It tells us the motivation behind Christ in what he did and why there will always be hope for all of us- when we realise that.


Anonymous said...

You won't be missing mass on Good Friday, CBI - there ain't one. Good Friday is always a service.

The prodigal son is a wonderful parable, but part of the point is that the son is not expecting to be redeemed, he's just desperate. He doesn't forsee any salvation nor does he live expecting to return later.

Anonymous said...

Ah, another example of my blanket use of mass to mean Holy Day of Obligation.
I just like the whole ceremony Good Friday- The moving of the sacrement to the side chapel, the sense of loss...

As a said to a non-Catholic friend recently, neither he nor I can say where our life paths ill take us- it may be h who dies in the bosom of the church whilst I fail that final wholehearted repentance and am damned.
Free Will is crucial and since I have yet to sincerely repent, I am i trouble. BUT I go to mass haoping that one day I will be given the grace to do so.

Anonymous said...

I don't go to church but I recognise the role ritual plays in spirituality. Unfortunately, I'm a Wagnerian in my beliefs and my ritual lies in a different place...

Anonymous said...

Good Friday ain't an Obly Gobly either.

For me the GF service is the year's best. The most affecting and the most profound. It's the time when I really think about God being so gutted and afraid that he calls up to stop all this happening but goes through with it nonetheless. Christ is us, shot through with the eternal divine spirit.

CBI, chances are none of us knows who is saved and who is not. Over at Alex's place, a commenter made the point that believers seem to them to feel themselves worthless and (by implication) this shows the poverty of religion - of course, Christ himself said he didn't come for the self-possessed and the confident, or the self-assured, he came for the doubters, the anxious and the sinners. Nietzsche picked up on this big time as evidence of the essential slave morality of Christianity - I prefer to think of it as being that Christ came for the crappest of us, not for the best (not that I think you're crap, CBI).

Crumbs. I sound like I _really_ believe this. Well, if the cap fits...

Anonymous said...

It was only whilst explaining Catholicism to someone a party that I realised I actually beleived it. It didn't affect my church attendance, but it affected my attitude to it.

Anonymous said...

I have strong Catholic beliefs. But I don't agree with organized religions. Its more to do with the fact that they aren't up to date with todays constantly changing society.

And according to precedent, they wont' update to 'current' standards until...


Anonymous said...

believers seem to them to feel themselves worthless

I said it to him and I'll say it again here. Not worthless — helpless.

In and of myself I have nothing which will save me. I have no life in me that was not first given to me. I am sustained by the grace of a God who gives freely to all; even those of us who do not believe.

I wouldn't go so far as to say he came for the crappiest of us, but I would agree with you that he came for those who lack this feeling of "self assurance". Often times we are a pretty desperate lot. Not surprising as desperation does quite a number on "self-assurance".

Anonymous said...

The meeting I was in tonight we read again the bit in Romans: nothing can separate us from the love of God. It's easy to forget that, but can be harder to believe when we're feeling rotten about ourselves.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point Liz,
I've been pondering that a bit more these last few days. There seems to be a lot of guilt floating around this place. As if we need to be running around yelling I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!

He know's us. He remembers we are dust. What he want's more than anything is not for us to flagellate ourselves for our own guilt, but to trust him. To know Him, to Love Him. He bore the weight of our guilt so that we do not have to. You are free my brothers! Perhaps it is time you start living like it.

I do not believe we must walk around in life trying really hard to be sorry. I DO believe we ought to strive to understand and feel the weight of God's love for us and let that love change us into our true identity.

You see, it's not that we must repent and desperately try to become better people. The truth is when we respond to Christ (repentance is part of this) we are "made new". The problem with most people is, we just don't know it yet! We are used to our old habits. So really the calling on our life is to seek to understand our TRUE identity. We are children of the King! Live in that reality and let it change you. Bring your life in congruity with the truth by seeking to know God and your new relationship to him.

If you picture of God is that of a disappointed father figure, of course you will find it difficult to feel repentant. But look to the cross! See His love for YOU! Know that He did that for who you are, not for who you "ought" to be. Let His love change you, don't try and deserve it. Just receive it!

Anonymous said...

I have strong Catholic beliefs. But I don't agree with organized religions. Its more to do with the fact that they aren't up to date with todays constantly changing society.

Phishez- I'e met many people with those views and kind of hold them myself; but what kind of faith-in-an-eternal-truth organisation would it be which changed its views every generation to match what was going on outside? I mean, ask the Socialist Workers' Party.

Anonymous said...

OK. I admit I cheered when they announced the new Pope.
It was the one I had wanted, long before he was a serious candidate.
I read The Universe. I like his theology.