“Oh I hate the Easter vigil! It’s sooo long for goodness sake! Why do they have to stick all those baptisms in there?”
I actually heard someone say those words this week. I chose not to reply as it would only have resulted in me having to go confession. Again.
I have been involved in a lot of discussions recently regarding the ‘best’ way to celebrate Holy Mass. The Trads like the Tridentine, with the air so thick with incense you can hardly see the person next to you at the sign of peace (oh! no, wait… they don’t do that do they?!) The Libs like the folk music and the happy clapping and don’t really mind if the woman distributing Holy Eucharist is wearing jeans and trainers.
Me? My favorite mass is the beautifully simple 7.30am. No bells or whistles. No happy clapping folk maniacs. No kids (yes, I said it – NO KIDS!). My brain is clear at that time, I’m generally at my least emotional and the day has not unleashed its torrent of challenges and distractions on me yet.
In a secretly romantic kind of way it feels like Easter Sunday every day. I feel very much like Mary Magdaline (no giggling please) getting up at dawn on her own to go and find her Lord. And when I have encountered him, I can go back and try and share that joy with others – even if they don’t believe me, at first.
Holy Mass, said beautifully and simply by a humble, holy priest who truly understands the Eucharist – sometimes it is too beautiful to take…
Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez reminds us that “Holy Mass is about love”. He was the person closest to St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. In a 2010 interview with Zenit he was asked: According to your memories, what was the Eucharist for St. Josemaría? What role did it have in his day?
Bishop Echevarría: “I served Mass many times for St. Josemaría. At these times he would ask me to pray so that he would not get used to celebrating that very sublime and sacred act. In effect, I was able to verify something he once said: that he experienced the Mass as work – at times an extenuating effort, such was the intensity with which he lived it. Throughout the day, he would recall the texts he had read, in particular the Gospel, and many times he commented on it, in a perfectly ordinary tone, as food for his spiritual and human life. He was conscious of the fact that in the Mass the protagonist is Jesus Christ, not the minister, and that the faithful fulfillment of the prescriptions enables the priest to “disappear,” so that Jesus alone shines. Many people who attended his Mass – also in the difficult circumstances of the Spanish Civil War – commented later that his way of celebrating Mass had something that moved them profoundly, and that they felt invited to grow in their devotion to the Holy Sacrifice. I am convinced that what moved those who participated – those of us who participated – in his Mass was precisely that: that he let Christ appear and not his person.”
Do you find the Easter Vigil too long? You might want to print out the picture below and keep it in your pocket for the next few days…