About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“In the 17th century came the crushing blow which destroyed the beauty of all Breviary hymns. Pope Urban VIII (d. 1644) was a Humanist. In a fatal moment he saw that the hymns do not all conform to the rules of classical prosody.”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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Showing Emotions
published 22 March 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

“At Mass I get to see your souls; but tonight I got to see your hearts,” I said to some of the seminarians who came to a charismatic prayer meeting at Holy Apostles where I teach.

It sounds falsely dualistic, but from an experiential standpoint it’s not. At Holy Apostles we pride ourselves on the formal beauty of our Masses. Since the seminarians wear clerics, this adds to the feeling of reverence, as the soul soars to meet Christ descending, as it were, into the Eucharistic Host. I love this atmosphere, but with 95 seminarians it’s hard to get to know most of them heart to heart. At the small prayer meeting, they shared from the heart. I loved seeing an unusually analytic seminarian lift up his hands and, with face glowing with gratitude, tell us that the Lord wanted us to not only give Him our wills but also to give him our worst miseries.

I teach Von Hildebrand’s classic, The Heart, recently re-published. He explains how the anti-affectivity tendency in the Church can lead to what he calls atrophy of the heart. Out of fear of out-of-control, sometimes sinful emotions, we become dutiful robots almost unable to express such wonderful emotions as joy, grief, and even love.

In response, people will say that they feel inner joy and love at Mass, too deep to be expressed. I retort, what do you think of people who say that even though they are talking to each other during Mass they feel “inner” reverence?

It is reported that in Augustine’s time the windows of the Church sometimes cracked from the impact of the praise.

Perhaps, some of us need to hide our emotions more, and others have to express the good ones more?

Dr. Ronda has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.