There are many reasons why I love our Pope, but THIS is at the top of the list.....
From "The Ratzinger Report~An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church" by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Vittorio Messor.
"The liturgy is not a show, a spectacle, requiring brilliant producers and talented actors. The life of the liturgy does not consist in 'pleasant' surprises and attractive 'ideas' but in solemn repetitions. It cannot be an expression of what is current and transitory, for it expresses the mystery of the Holy. Many people have felt and said that liturgy must be 'made' by the whole community if it is really to belong to them. Such an attitude has led to the 'success' of the liturgy being measured by its effect at the level of spectacle and entertainment. It is to lose sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot 'make'. In the liturgy there is a power, an energy at work which not even the Church as a whole can generate: what it manifests is the Wholly Other, coming to us through the community (which is hence not sovereign but servant, purely instrumental)."
He goes on: "Liturgy, for the Catholic, is his common homeland, the source of his identity. And another reason why it must be something 'given' and 'constant' is that, by means of ritual, it manifests holiness of God. The revolt against what has been described as 'the old rubricist rigidity', which was accused of stifling 'creativity', has in fact made the liturgy into a do-it-yourself patchwork and trivialized it, adapting it to our mediocrity."
Further: "The Council rightly reminded us that liturgy also means actio, something done, and it demanded that the faithful be guaranteed an actuosa participatio, an active participation." The interviewer then expressed that he regarded this as a good thing. The Cardinal continued: "The concept is no doubt correct. But the way it has been applied following the Council has exhibited a fatal narrowing of perspective. The impression arose that there was only 'active participation' when there was discernible external activity-speaking, singing, preaching, reading, shaking hands. It was forgotten that the Council also included silence under actuosa participatio, for silense also facilitates a really deep, personal participation, allowing us to listen inwardly to the Lord's word. Many liturgies now lack all trace of this silence."
I came across this passage as I was doing some follow up reading to the book "Mass Confusion" that I mentioned here.
Over the years, I have seen some pretty serious liturgical abuses. Sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant. In any case, I have noticed, lately, that the trend has begun leaning toward orthodoxy once again. It is refreshing. Many religious orders are returning to more traditional practices...like wearing habits and living in community. As a matter of fact, I have been told (from a very reliable source) that the orders that were growing like wildfire in the late 60's and early 70's (the ones without habits) are pretty much dying off. Those religious orders are not growing like they once were. However, the orders that are growing the fastest are those that choose to wear the habit.
I understand that there are benefits to both sides of the "habit" issue. There is an excellent blog post at A Catholic Life regarding this very subject. Take a few minutes to read it and see what you think.
It's interesting to me how my own preferences about these issues are changing. I'm being drawn to a more quiet, traditional way of life and I can't really explain why. There is so much noise in my life...between work, the TV., the phone, the radio, and three kids ages ten and under....I'm craving more silence. I no longer turn on the radio when I'm in the car. My time with Glenn Beck on my way home from work has been replaced with some quiet time to reflect on my day. The T.V. is never on during the day anymore! I don't miss it at all. As a society, we are so busy 'doing'...that we miss out on just 'being'.
Even Sunday Mass has become a place for constant noise. It's seems as though in many churches someone has decided that there can't be any silence during Mass at all. I know that people are craving some quiet time, especially after communion so that they can pause and speak to the Lord directly and concentrate on what He might be trying to say to them.
How do you deal with the constant noise in your life?