March 1, 2015
The Wild Beast of Spiritual Boredom (1)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Being on retreat, I thought to reprint for you excerpts from an article to which I was recently referred: Six Ways to Overcome Catholic Boredom, by Randy Hain. The full article can be found at www.integratedcatholiclife.org. Randy writes:
“I often hear complaints that the ‘Mass is boring,’ ‘the priest is difficult to understand’ or ‘the priest didn’t wow us with an exciting homily.’ Still more complaints (whining?) center on the lack of exciting music during Mass or the ‘inconvenience’ of having to attend Mass weekly as well as all the Holy Days of obligation. I also frequently hear this comment: ‘I wish our parish was more like insert name of any Protestant church Church. They have a lot of fun in their services and the music is awesome.’ The list of complaints is likely much longer, but I think you get the picture.
“Much has been written about the explosion of Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) …. Many studies link kids’ overstimulation from video games as a big contributor to the problem. Adults have the same challenges as we struggle with our own addictions to smart phones and information overload from computers, TV, etc. Is this problem spilling over into our spiritual lives? Do we go from parish to parish looking for some sort of ‘Catholic buzz’ to keep us entertained? Do we flirt with heresy by attending non-Catholic churches? Are our brains, craving more and more stimulation, incapable of finding peace? We need to tune out the “noise” to achieve the quiet and focus required in the Mass.
“Do we ever take a moment to consider the challenging life of a Catholic priest? In addition to being our spiritual shepherds, parish priests are the administrators of complex organizations often beset with unique problems ranging from people issues on the staff to budget shortfalls. Their days are filled with saying Mass, presiding at weddings, funerals and baptisms, hearing Confessions, visiting the sick, prayer, study, meetings with parishioners and dozens of other duties we may not fully appreciate. They are not our entertainment directors. Before we complain about something these men of God did or didn’t do, we should reflect a little and say a prayer of thanksgiving for their life-long commitment to help us attain Heaven. These good men need our prayers and our support every single day. They do not need nor deserve much of the criticism that is sent their way.
“Do you ever notice that entering the church for Mass these days often resembles people finding their seats in a theater before a movie begins? There is lots of noise and chit-chat...up to the beginning of Mass. Where is the reverence? The respect? The humility? Time spent preparing to enter into the Mysteries? We are about to receive Holy Communion, the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we sometimes treat this sacred time like a secular family reunion instead of a holy celebration. Maybe one of the reasons people feel bored with the Mass is they have forgotten that the center of the Mass is Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice. ‘The faithful are to hold the Eucharist in highest honor, taking part in the celebration of the Most August Sacrifice, receiving the sacrament devoutly and frequently, and worshiping it with supreme adoration; pastors, clarifying the doctrine on this sacrament, are to instruct the faithful thoroughly about this obligation’ (Code of Canon Law #898).”
Please pray for me and be assured of my prayers for yours and you.