Well its begun. The restrictions are being eased and all the talk is about ‘back to normal’, or ‘adjusting to the new normal’. Language is always interesting. Of course, for people of faith – particularly Christians – there is no ‘back to’. Let’s reflect on that a bit.
I don’t know about you, but I am finding some silver linings to our current lockdown which has closed our churches and stopped public liturgy, including Sunday Mass. This promoted some of us to reflect on the opportunities emerging for Children’s Liturgy and family prayer.
One of the themes emerging in the plethora of theological writing on our experience of COVID 19 focuses on the question of whether we, the People of God, are seizing this moment as an opportunity to live more fully as the Body of Christ, or whether a reliance on streamed masses is reinforcing a dependence on the clergy to be all things to all people. The way we celebrate liturgy matters because it is meant to shape us for the former, not the latter. Fiona Duque, a member of the Diocesan Liturgy Council and the Ministry Co-ordinator at St Bede’s Catholic College Chisholm, has been reflecting on this question in the context of her life and ministry. I invite you to ponder with her and to reflect on your own experience through the lens of this question. Over to you Fiona.
One of my fond Josephite memories features our Sr Emmanuel, affectionately known as Manny. One day, long, long ago, in a chapel in the middle of the valley, I was sitting alone praying. Manny came up behind me, and scaring me half to death, whispered in my ear, ‘The team is only as good and strong as its individual members!’ And off she went. It felt like the voice of God!
Our lives are changing drastically almost daily. Our church buildings have been closed and we have no access to the normal rhythm of gathering as a community to celebrate Sunday Mass. What do we do in these circumstances? Most of us are focusing on live-streamed Masses. While this experience has its place, our current circumstances provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our ‘Mass Myopia’ and expand our liturgical horizons to consider the wider treasury of the Church’s liturgical prayer and Christ’s presence with us in the ordinary – at the moment extraordinary – circumstances of life. I invite you to open your minds and hearts to consider the following reflection by Nick Wagner. It translates easily to our Australian context. What is the Spirit asking of us in these circumstances?