Saturday, March 19, 2011

On the New Translation

the following excerpt is from the Friar's Blog of the Eastern Province:

There is a strange temptation in the world today to see religion in terms of what we get out of it. We are supposed to find the religion or the church that gives us the best service, the most for our money. I'm sure we have all heard people complain, "I don't get anything out of Mass." Perhaps when we've been frustrated with the music or preaching at our parish, we've even shared that sentiment ourselves. Yet, when we gather to celebrate Mass, we do not come to get to hear beautiful music, to get insightful instruction from the priest, or to get to share in our community of faith. All these things are good, but we come not to get them but to give-to give our worship to God.

We are sometimes tempted to imagine a god who doesn't want to be worshiped, a god who is much more egalitarian, a regular Joe just like us. But in imaging such a god, we imagine something that is not God. Worshiping doesn't fit well into our American culture as we have managed to obliterate so many signs of respect and honor from ordinary life. This makes it hard for us to see anything as worthy of honor. It also leads us to forget that man's greatest attribute is being made in the image and likeness of God. Our fellow men and women deserve to be respected and honored because each one is like God. God Himself deserves not just to be respected and honored but to be worshiped and adored because he is God.

The new translation of the Mass that we will start using next advent intentionally highlights this aspect of the Mass. It uses loftier language and sometime even big words-words that were chosen not because they were the easiest options for us but because they were the most worthy options for God. Those who fret that average Americans won't be able to understand these words not only insult average Americans but also forget who is being addressed throughout most of the Mass-not us but God. The language used at Mass will be a bit different from the language we use for other activities, but that is because what we do at Mass is different from any other activity.

The effort we spend to prepare and celebrate Mass is not so we or others can get more out of it, but it's so we can give more honor to God. The art and beauty of our Churches is not meant for our eyes or ears but is a sacrifice rising up to God. We come to Mass to give- to give everything to God. Like the Magi, in giving, we will find our greatest joy. We will discover a God who is not only a source for grace and enlightenment but one who is Emmanuel, God with us. God dwells with us giving us his very flesh and blood so that we can receive him and adore him.

Fr. Darren Pierre, O.P.

Promoter for the Lay and Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic, Province of St. Joseph
Read the whole article here, it is well worth it! And while you are at it, Part 1 is here

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