Transcendent in awe.
One of the feast days this week was that of St John Chrysostom.
Pope Benedict XVI, in 2007, on the anniversary of the saint’s death, wrote of St John and the Divine Liturgy.
“St John understood that the Divine Liturgy situated the believer spiritually between his life on earth and the heavenly reality which was promised to him by the Lord…..
These sacred rites, says St John, ?are not only marvelous to behold, but transcendent in awe. There stands the priest … bringing down the Holy Spirit, and he prays at length … that grace descending on the sacrifice may thereby enlighten the minds of all and render them more resplendent than silver purified by fire.””
Transcendent. Between heaven and earth. Out of the ordinary experience. Exceptional.
Not lacklustre liturgy.
Not banal trite catechism for children and adults.
But a chance to bridge that gap between the ordinary and the sacred.
To enlighten minds and souls.
In liturgy. And in our teaching.
You could have heard a pin drop in catechism class this week when we talked about the Mass, when we looked at sacred vessels, at crystal cruets, at polished bells. A ripple of a sigh, of awe, at the beauty …not for the ordinary but for the special, for the celebration of mass, for preparing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
The need for sacred, for ritual, for beauty, for intellect, ideas out of the ordinary (transubstantiation,…the children rolled the words on their tongues, nodded as we spoke of the Body and of the Blood).. These needs were all fed, not by simplistic, euphemistic terms, not by garish drawings but by Truth and Beauty.
We build our Catholic identity, in ourselves and in the children, through sacred liturgy and an understanding of the liturgy. All senses are filled. Heart, mind, body, soul. We build a relationship with Our Lord…and this is shared with others. In true education. In true evangelization . In true ecumenism. In true social justice.
Emanating from that awe at transcendence.