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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

21 Thoughts • “Exterior Actions at Mass”
published 10 September 2018 by Corpus Christi Watershed

87651 • Fr Christopher Smith PRINCE OF PEACE TAYLORS ATHER Christopher Smith recently preached a homily that begs of you a listen—challenging the faithful to manifest their love of God in their exterior actions at the Mass. A few prompts for prayerful reflection are adapted from the homily below as you discern, “What would a non-Catholic Christian see from our example if they watched us in the Church at Mass?”

1. Do we see Sunday as a joyful occasion that we have the privilege to participate in as sons and daughters of Christ?

2. Is Sunday special—different from all other days?

3. Do we dress for Mass not by putting on whatever clothes happen to be available, but by dressing outwardly and inwardly for the wedding feast of the Lamb?

4. Do we realize each one of us was created by God to worship Him and that all time belongs to Him? Or, do we begrudge Him one hour of our week for Mass?

5. Do we arrive early for Mass to pray, focus and prepare for the most important thing we do each week? Or, are we running around like a chicken with its head cut off sailing into Mass distracted and not ready to pray? [families with children, we understand this is not always feasible]

6. Mass is not a spectator sport. The fruitfulness of the Mass within us depends on the disposition of our heart that we bring to it. We have to choose to engage it by disciplining our wandering minds by focusing on every word, gesture and ceremony of the Mass.

7. Are we watching the Mass with eyes of faith?

8. Are we listening to Mass with ears and hearts open to the truth proclaimed in the readings and prayers?

9. Are we tasting with devotion and reverence of the holy Eucharist?

10. Are we grasping the sacred by crossing ourselves, kneeling, bowing, genuflecting, standing and sitting not just because it is a ritual, but with purpose and love?

11. Are we smelling the incense, candles, flowers—the Church itself? Do we engage our entire bodies in worship—all five (5) senses—or do we just sit there and wait it out?

12. When we come into Church, do we plunge our hands into the Holy water font and remind ourselves that we were signed, sealed and delivered by our baptism and confirmation as children of God and heirs to heaven?

13. Do we genuflect by going all the way down on our right knee slowly as a sign of adoration to Christ as King who reigns from the throne of love in the tabernacle?

14. Do we put aside all earthly cares before Mass, get into a zone of prayer and enter a space of worship?

15. Do we carefully observe silence before and after Mass? Do we remember that this Church is the gate of Heaven and the only person to whom we should be speaking is to God?

16. Do we say the responses clearly and distinctly? Or, do we mumble?

17. Do we sing the ordinary of the Mass and the hymns with the beautiful voice God gave us?

18. Gentlemen of the congregation—you are the priests of the domestic church. That means that your children and everyone else are looking for you to be a model or worship and prayer. What contrary witness do men give when not picking up the music sheet to sing or slouching and mumbling?

19. Do we bow upon the name of Jesus?

20. When we come up to Holy Communion, do we assume an attitude of reverence and devotion and then allowing ourselves to be fed by the Body of Christ?

21. Judas was the only one who left the Last Supper early. And, he did it to betray our Lord. Do not leave Mass early. If we can’t stand to be in Church for an hour a week, how will we spend eternity with God?

Text courtesy of this source.