Of all the religions I’ve studied (and I’ve studied a few), Catholicism is the most vast, beautiful and truly awe-inspiring. That is, by the way, what the rites of initiation used to be called: the awe-inspiring rites of initiation. And that is what they should be. Awe inspiring.
And this is what I want to communicate to others, the profoundly beautiful and beautifully profound nature of what we are doing in Baptism and at Mass. We receive the Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, through Baptism. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, Son of the Living God, Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, through Holy Communion. We partake of divine eternal life, we receive Christ and are allowed to become adopted children of God Almighty in the presence of all the angels and saints. What could inspire more awe than this?
This is what pains me so about the state of the rites in our parishes. I’ve searched in vain for a parish where Mass is celebrated with reverence and dignity. Thank God I live close enough to EWTN to attend Daily Mass there often. But the chapel is not a parish and parish life is important in the life of a disciple. I’m also required to be a parish member in order to sponsor my friend in RCIA, and also to be accepted into a couple of apostolates I’m looking into. More about that later.
I used to have a copy of the book I linked to above in the first paragraph. I think I’m going to have to replace that lost copy very soon. I’m not finding what I need in contemporary materials; the Early Fathers had the rite idea, pun intended. I’ll write about it here as I read it. Stay tuned. And comments are welcome. (Update Sep 14 2009: the catechumen I’m sponsoring got me a used copy. Hooray! Thank you, dearie. After I’ve had time to read and digest it, I’ll write about it here. And on Amazon.)
Notes and Links
- Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation: The Origins of the RCIA, by Fr. Edwin Yarnold, SJ: Paperback. (Amazon affiliate link, see Full Disclosure below for more).
Image: The Baptism of Christ, by Piero della Francesca, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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