Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday morning

It's the 8th Monday in Ordinary Time. We have just come off of 50 days of wonderful celebration in the Easter Season, culminating in the fiery feast of Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit.

When I was younger, I participated in Charismatic Renewal gatherings, and this was our big feast to get together at the Basilica or Cathedral here in the Twin Cities and really whoop it up. I spoke in tongues, raised my hands, sang and sang and sang at a 2- or 3-hour mass, I listened to amatuer prophets trying their hand at spontaneous prophecies after communion, I even tried a little spontaneous dancing in the aisles. I used to love it, and I wished everyone could experience the heady joy and excitement of participating in mass this way - at every mass. thanks. Not for me anymore. Too much us, not enough God. It's not just that I'm older (although I am) but that I always had the true voice of the Holy Spirit nagging me during these things, saying, "Quiet, listen." Some of those things simply did not belong at mass (like the dancing). It's not that it was never quiet at the Charismatic masses. Actually, because of the all the hubbub, the silences seemed all the more profound and reverent when they occured. But the more of them I attended, the more I sought that profound and reverent silence all the time, without the need to "express myself" bodily through all that activity.

Thank God for growth and change. I am thankful for those experiences, because I think they taught me a lot. But my kids are truly not interested in having similar experiences. They crave the profound silence without first experiencing the hubbub. They see Charismatic behavior as embarrassing and unneccesary. They actually dig a Mozart mass at St. Agnes more than a "Stuebenville Conference" mass.

Back to Ordinary Time

I work at a wonderful Catholic school which teaches the faith in all its fulness. But one beef I have is that the Board (who decides the calendar) feels the need to drag us back to school on Easter Monday. After the intense experience of Lent and then the even more intense Triduum, we finally break through to Easter. Easter is all alleluias and trumpets and lillies and candy and new hats and family all day long, and I love every minute of it. Well, maybe it's just because I am a church musician, but I feel the need to breathe a bit after all this intensity. I should probably just take Easter Monday off for myself, but as you teachers know, it feels like more work to be gone than just to show up and teach.

I feel a similar way about the return of Ordinary Time after the great feast of Pentecost. I know we get to celebrate Trinity Sunday, followed by the glorious feast of Corpus Christi with its beautiful processions and all. But I would love to stretch out the actual celebration of Pentecost for just a few more days! The Pre-Vatican II calendar had an octave of Pentecost. I don't attend an indult mass (mostly because they are only held on the other side of town) but I would love to go this week because they celebrate the Octave of Pentecost.

We don't give the great feast of Pentecost its due by celebrating it for only one glorious day. The next day it feels like we are pretending it never happened. We just pick up Ordinary time where we left off in February.

I have heard the line that we are supposed to look at all of Ordinary Time as a "celebration" of Pentecost. I understand that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, which in turn sends us out to work in the harvest of souls. It just feels a little abrpt, that's all.

Memorial Day

Well, at least I have a day off school to ponder this, as it happens also to be Memorial Day. I am looking forward to showing my kids how we honor the dead and how we honor our military men and women this afternoon. Maybe we'll visit Grampa Leo's grave at Fort Snelling (my wife's dear father who left us last November.

I am also listening to Fr. Richard John Neuhaus on EWTN celebrating a mass honoring military chaplains past and present. He says that the chaplains, and all of us believers are part of a "conflicted sovereignty." We believe in the sovereignty of Christ over all of us, but the principalities and powers of the age are in rebellion, they attempt to contradict his sovereignty over all of us.