September 29, 2006

Be Our Guest / Darlene Davis

New Mass response makes faithful more aware of responsibilities

In response to the letter “Mass translation shows Vatican needs to reprioritize its agenda” in the Sept. 15 issue of The Criterion, I applaud the author for her great concern for social justice.

Her concern for the poor was most evident in the letter, and the frustration she feels that not enough is being done for the poor is shared with all faithful Catholics, including the ones who head up the various congregations at the Vatican.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has a primary job to regulate the way we worship as a whole Church.

Contrary to the author’s claims, I believe this congregation does have a heart for social justice. In fact, they may have had that in mind when they were revising the translation of the Mass prayers highlighted by the author in changing the words “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” to “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.”

There is an old but true cliché that goes “charity begins at home.” “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” is a wonderful confession, but these words are rather narrow. They focus on me alone as we approach the most communal moment in the Mass.

The words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof,” however, are much broader. What is under my roof? The answer is my family, my job, those I associate with, all that I do and say, my whole life—including the way I live out the social teachings of the Church.

Why am I not worthy to have the Lord come under that roof? Could it be that I am not so concerned about either social justice or worship under my roof? Could it be that there are ways in which I could live my Catholic life more fully under my own roof? How’s my prayer life or the catechesis of the children I am responsible for? Am I doing all I can to live an authentic Catholic life under the lordship of Jesus? With whom do I share the Good News?

Could it be that the confession, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” will lead me to contemplate these and other questions, and be converted to more social justice, more fervent worship, more evangelization of those around me?

I personally see great wisdom in this new response for Mass. I believe it could make the faithful more, not less, aware of the richness of our responsibilities in being Catholic Christians in today’s world.

(Darlene Davis is a member of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield.)


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