Trivializing the sacred
WE have to be most careful with this possibility which, sad to say, is becoming a common occurrence. We have to distinguish between the sacred and the mundane, and even if both categories come from God, there however are distinctive qualities of each one that should be respected and never confused.
The sacred are those things that are related directly to God—his words, his sacraments, his Church. We cannot treat them as if we are simply handling ordinary, worldly things like our work, our business, our politics, etc.
With the sacred, all we have to do is utmost reverence, putting all our faith in them, knowing that through natural and human elements, we are touching the supernatural dimension of our life, we are touching the very life of God.
This reality should never be lost in our consciousness. Whenever we get involved in the sacred, as when we attend Mass or go to confession, or read the gospel, etc., we need to make many acts of faith, hope and charity to be able to capture the wonderful reality of being intimate with God.
We have to be careful because nowadays, with all the galloping pace of our earthly concerns and developments, we can easily end up treating the sacred things as one more item to be attended to, often with a cursory attitude.
We need to put all our mind and heart, all our senses and faculties into the celebration of these sacred things. Our whole selves should be involved there. We have to be aware with the reality of who we are dealing with in these sacred acts. We are not dealing with people only, much less with things only. We are directly dealing with God!
It therefore stands to reason that before we get involved in these sacred activities, we prepare ourselves properly. We have to stir up our faith and devotion, priming our heart and mind to attune themselves with the reality involved.
That is why we need to spend time preparing ourselves before the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Holy Mass. This is especially so with priests. We, priests, have to spend some time in prayer before celebrating the Mass to see to it that we are assuming the very name and person of Christ who is both priest and victim, the one who both offers and is offered.
It raises some concern to note that some people have complained about priests treating the Mass as if it’s just one more item in their daily routine. They seem to see the Mass as one bureaucratic activity of the priest. They even go to the extent of saying that some priests have converted the Mass more into a show rather than the sacrament of the passion and death of Christ.
Of course, it goes without saying that many people have also lost the sense of the sacred when they go to Mass. They go there more to meet some social obligation and expectations. There’s definitely a need for more catechesis regarding the Mass and the whole issue about how to handle the sacred.
Do we know how to make the sign of the cross, or a most reverent genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament, for example?