Christmas Mass?

So while I was down in Plamondon my parents went to midnight mass at the Roman Catholic Church and I figured I would tag along. I’m not entirely sure why, as that is not something I would ordinarily do, but since we weren’t able to attend our own church service back in Fort McMurray I figured that we might as well check it out and be able to experience the small crumbs of the gospel, small as they might be. Within a few minutes though I found myself regretting being there. It wasn’t terrible, and it’s not like I couldn’t sit still and just sit back and enjoy parts of it, but just being there…contemplating the religious epistemological distinctives of the RCC as it relates to the faith of the attendees, and then eventually watching them taking the Eucharist with all the…theological shenanigans… that is represented therein, that was difficult.  Not only that, but there was a prayer to Mary in the pamphlet which I was unable to copy down, but I remembered a few words from it and I’m almost positive this is it.

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke Thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let Your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on You, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations, I shall never cease to call on You, ever repeating Your sacred name, Mary, Mary. O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fills my soul when I pronounce Your sacred name, or even only think of You! I thank God for having given You, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely pronouncing Your name; let my love for You prompt me ever to hail You, Mother of Perpetual Help. Amen”

As if that wouldn’t make me as crazy as a rat in a coffee can.  On the plus side though, we got to recite the Nicene Creed. That’s always good.

5 thoughts on “Christmas Mass?

  1. Oh Dustin. How I pray and hope that one day you’ll see the beauty of the mass. That symbolism and “theological shenanigans ” (whatever those may be) aren’t bad things. They are simple human things to explain the divine.

    And that’s an odd Perpetual Help prayer. I’ve never seen that one before. At my parish, they pray the perpetual help prayers on Tuesdays, and typically use this one:

    Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. you became not only the Mother of the Redeemer, but Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as your loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and God’s mercy is from age to age on those who love God. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.

    I rather like the scriptural references in that one.

    As for the Nicene Creed, I don’t know if Canadian churches have different things going on, but it should be said at every Sunday/Holy Day mass.

    One more thing, I’d like to hear more about what you mean when you say “contemplating the religious epistemological distinctives of the RCC as it relates to the faith of the attendees, and then eventually watching them taking the Eucharist with all the…theological shenanigans…”. Maybe it’s just cause I’m not totally awake yet, but I’m not quite getting at what you’re saying here.

  2. Rachel, I obviously don’t have the same intensity of diversion Dustin has to the Catholic church, but one thing that bothered me was there were hundreds of people cramped into a school gym, the priest was Jamaican or something with a super thick accent you could hardly understand to begin with, the congregation was half mumbling the entire liturgy like there was no importance in what was being said, and while the priest was up front singing the Eucharist, hardly anyone was paying attention. They were playing with their children, talking to each other, or just generally uninterested.

    It’s difficult to see the beauty in this when the people in the congregation could care less about what was going on. From the way you, Ryan, and Brian talk, I was just sitting there, bewildered, thinking, “this is supposed to be the height and culmination of your life right here! Something mysterious and wonderful supposedly just happened before your eyes, and you aren’t even paying attention!”

    It was kind of heartbreaking, actually, for an outsider to look in on that after having been told such splendid things about the Eucharist. I have been to Catholic mass only twice now, both of which are this same church, and I think it makes Dustin’s attitude a lot more clear, knowing this is the only Catholic experience he has had. I’d like to imagine there are churches that are more… alive… out there, and those are the ones I would be interested in learning from and seeing operate.

  3. Missina –

    There most certainly are Catholics Churches which are alive, splendid, beautiful, and wondrous. We actually have many such churches here in South Louisiana (although we have a lot of rotten churches as well).

    As for Dustin’s post, I’d recommend he read the “General Instruction” of the Mass (http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml) to see not only that the mass has much more scripture than its protestant brethren, but that the scriptures have themselves formed the basis of the mass. The Gospel is contained within the mass; the mass itself is the great proclamation of the Gospel, that God has come as a man and continues to offer himself to God for the redemption of mankind, as well as in the Eucharist that man might “abide in [Him].”

  4. P.S. The Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is standard, orthodox Marialogy. As St. Augustine said, “He will not have God for his father who will not have Mary for his mother.” It recognizes nothing but the unique place of honor given graciously to Mary by Our Lord; that he said to his disciple, “Behold thy mother.” That, being “full of grace,” Mary was crowned the Queen of Heaven (Rev. 12), and, being the “Mother of my Lord” the Head of the Church, is Mother of the Body as well. She is, quite simply, Mother and Queen by the grace of God, and it is not our place to expell She whom “all generations” should call “blessed.”

  5. Missina, your description makes it much clearer. Good Lord, I would HATE to be at a mass like that. No, there is no beauty in that to be seen by the human eye.

    The problem is that so many catholics are not properly taught about the height and splendor of the mass. It’s shocking to me how churches like that can exist. I have been blessed to be in an active parish that really cares and knows what is going on. I have been blessed to have been taught everything possible about the Church. You guys might not realize it, but us z Catholics are quite a different breed (not totally unusual, but not the norm, for sure).

    If you ever get a chance to come down to the US and visit, I’ll show you a real mass. That’s for sure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s