Saturday, May 26, 2012
The Spirit of the Liturgy
I remember once standing in the sacristy of my former parish as two teenage servers were agonizing over their roles in the upcoming mass. They were quite naturally afraid of making a mistake and looking foolish in front of the congregation. I reminded them that even I, glamorous and learned seminarian though I was, made liturgical mistakes all the time, and that what God required of us was faithfulness, not perfection. God would show up in the liturgy and bless the assembly, even if we completely messed up. Our job was simply to do our best. That seemed to assuage their fears a little, and for the record, both of them did just great. In fact, I always appreciated it when the rector would say that "there was a great spirit" in the liturgy, or among the servers, or in the congregation. He never cared if the liturgy was rubrically perfect or aesthetically flawless. What he cared about, quite rightly, was the spirit with which the people worshiped God.