Saturday, February 18, 2012

Feeling Fed

I got to hang out with an Evangelical friend from my former church this evening. She asked me how I got "fed" at Mass- as in, everything seemed so rote- what was I able to take away from that? She bravely went with me once & felt nothing, though she wanted to & tried. What about me? Do I "feel" anything when I'm there?

I suppose I should get used to these kinds of questions. I wish the subject of my conversion didn't feel awkward, but it always does. Not only does my company feel strange, but I'm put on the spot to try & explain things that are still new for me too. I try my best, but sometimes I just have to say "I don't know yet".

As to my friend's questions, I do indeed get "fed" at Mass. There are 3 main scripture readings, 1 from the OT, 1 from the NT, & 1 from a gospel. There are other portions of scriptures scattered throughout, including responsorial Psalms, hymns & spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). We confess & repent of our sins together. We sing an ancient hymn known as the Gloria. We speak out the Creed as a communal profession of our faith. We pray for the needs of our community, world & leadership & somewhere in there, we even get a homily. We also pray the Our Father as a community and partake (well, not me, not just yet!) of the Eucharist as one Body. Yes, I get fed. How could I not? In fact, most Sundays, I feel like I'm sitting at a smorgasboard! I suppose from the outside, it could seem rote... dry, dull. It can look & sound very mechanical. I have no doubt for some its just that. But its not that way for me at all. As to the feeling portion of my friend's question, being at Mass feels very much like an adventure to me. There are so many ways God can (& does) speak in that setting & I get to explore every nook & cranny.

Being "fed" in my former churche(s) seemed to depend on how professional or emotionally charged the first 20 minutes of musi- er, worship was. The pastor would unpack a few verses of scripture, tell some jokes, share some stories, etc. After 45 minutes or so, the challenge to practice some spiritual principle in daily life was extended, sometimes during an altar call. I always felt like I was at a concert or in a classroom, listening to a teacher lecture on their own opinions. In contrast, the Mass isn't about the feeling one gets from singing. It's not about the priest's opinions or how eloquently he can unpack a few scriptures. The Mass is about community, coming together to worship God.

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