It’s going to happen in just two months, and I’m really excited!
No, not Christmas: That’s almost three months away.
Not the re-opening of my favorite seashore taffy store: That’s an interminable eight months away.
And certainly not the return of the mullet hairdo and avocado shag carpeting: With any luck, that’ll never happen.
I’m referring to the adaptation of the new Roman Missal, set to be introduced in churches around the world on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27.
Now, stop that groaning. Don’t believe all the negative statements about how the changes will discourage already tepid Catholics. Non-secular media already paints our faith with suspicion and negativity. (Cue fakey-urgent sounding television announcer: “What is that praying mantis REALLY praying about? Join Dick and Sammi Sue at eleven when they expose the innermost workings of this mysterious arthropod….”)
For some, praying at Mass today might be likened to standing atop a tall hill with a small snowball, then dropping it. The descent of that rapidly-growing orb of frozen water is unthinking, automatic, unfeeling, and grows faster as it continues. Some Catholics have become so accustomed to the responses they recite each Sunday that they miss punctuation, even breathing, in their rush to finish; they substitute speed and garbled phrases for prayer and reflection.
Take a look at the upcoming changes in the Roman Missal that are listed on the USCCB and other religious websites. They might give you pause for a few moments, but upon reflection are quite clear and beautiful (not to mention the wealth of new musical settings they have inspired)! We are free to return to the words which more closely echo the original intentions of the Church: to invite Catholics to praise and beseech God with fullness of heart, mind and soul. The USCCB website phrases it thus:
The entire Church in the United States has been blessed with this opportunity to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy, and to appreciate its meaning and importance in our lives…. Now is the time to seize the opportunity given to us for all Catholics in the United States to deepen, nurture, and celebrate our faith through the renewal of our worship and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.
So, on the first Sunday of Advent in just two months, grab a pew card, use the missal, and take this opportunity to reacquaint yourself with what once was and will be again. Returning to the past might just be considered chic and “Retro”, but this time without the bad hair and unsightly floor cover.