How Can You Still Be Catholic?

“How can you still be Catholic?” Cradle... Read more


Buy Now

Living Liturgically

Some Things Are Worth Doing S'more

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


By Chris Sparks (Jan 15, 2018)
I was at a Boy Scout campout one time, standing around the fire. One of the dads was sitting nearby. He knew I was Catholic, and he himself was a former Catholic. And so he asked me a question.

He recalled the Masses of his youth, and how the ceremony, the prayers, the gestures, the rituals were all the same, and were repeated, week after week. He asked, isn't that boring? Why wouldn't you want more spontaneous worship, a worship that changes from service to service?

I blinked, thought for a moment, then said, "Boredom is a very bad reason not to worship God."

He sputtered, and we talked a bit more, and moved on.

But it is worth taking time to think about that question. Why do we have the same prayers, the same cycles of readings, the same gestures and words underpinning our lives of worship and praise of God?

In fact, take it further.

We write about Divine Mercy, and you all read about Divine Mercy. Why? Haven't we all written about and read about all this before? Why do we spend time reading Scripture, when we've read it before?

We do all this for the same reason that we go to sleep night after night, usually in the same bed; for the same reason we eat the same food often; for the same reason that all of human life, all of nature, observes the great cosmic dance of the seasons and the cycles of life.

The lower resembles the higher. Our eating earthly food is a shadow of our participation in the heavenly banquet. Our daily bathing resembles our Baptism and the regular reception of Confession in order to cleanse our souls. Our breathing is like the inspiration, the in-breathing, of the Holy Spirit that happens through prayer. On and on it goes — all the rituals of daily life, the inevitable, repetitive tasks, all of it habituates us for the higher tasks and the higher life of Heaven.

We are given a great cosmic liturgy in which to live by a God who is delighted by His creation. The created order is a place to practice for the eternal dance of love and self-gift that is Heaven, in which (if we cooperate with God's grace) we will rejoice without end.

Repetition is, in many ways, a gift from God, and reveals to us something important about the eternal Father. In his classic book Orthodoxy, the great Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton said:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

And so at the Mass, we enter into the divine worship, the dance of love and gift that holds in Heaven. We walk the long pilgrimage of life following the path of the liturgical cycle, of the feasts and fasts of the Church's year. We renew our minds with the Scriptures because they open the door to an encounter with the Word of God, the source of all graces, and so a spring to which we must always return. We speak of Divine Mercy again and again because it refreshes the soul, renews the mind, lifts heavy burdens, and allows hearts of stone to relax once again into living flesh.

So embrace the seeming monotony of ritual and routine. Practice living each chore, each Mass, each Rosary in love and trust, and get back up after every fall. Do it again and again, embracing the everyday, immersing yourself in the ordinary things of life, as St. Faustina did in her work as a cook and gardener, as a consecrated religious and caretaker of wayward youth, as the Apostle and the Secretary of Divine Mercy. Welcome the sacred into the ordinary through your prayers and your interior life with God, and thereby allow the rays of grace and mercy pouring from the pierced side of Christ to illuminate your own life and the lives of everyone around you, connecting the sacred liturgy with the cosmic dance of the created order, transforming the world into one great sacramental, mediating the grace of God.

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Robb Webb - Jan 21, 2018

Beautiful :-)