Sunday, June 11, 2006

Trinity Sunday

And I trust and hope most fully
in that Manhood crucified;
and each thought and deed unruly
do to death, as he died.
(John Henry Cardinal Newman)

I was just aching to get to Mass today. All the stuff that I mentioned last week seemed so silly and irrelevant. I couldn't wait. For the Eucharist. To receive the Lord. I needed Him so much. I need Him so much. Oh I am just grateful that there's Mass here.

Thankfully, the electric keyboard and guitar were absent. A gaggle of the "youth" led the congregation (occasionally somewhat off-key) in singing the hymns a capella. There were hymnals at the back of the church! (Hmm. Maybe someone read this blog ... :-)). However, how "Here I am Lord" could be construed as a Psalm, I'm not sure ... And they sang the Gloria! With the proper words! The people sang. Maybe I just couldn't hear them last week over the sound of the keyboard.

The main celebrant was a young priest (recently ordained, it was mentioned in the announcements). He couldn't have been more than 25. From the south. I must say it was delightful to hear that famous story of St. Augstine in a Tamil accent. "Arrey what you are trying to do yemptying that wocean into that pittt?" and "Threee persons but woooonly WON God!"

The Communion song was one that brought back memories flooding from my days in the Church in Bombay. It is really an inane melody. The piety is individualistic, and emotional. Probably an evangelical hymn that wound its way onto these shores somehow. But, as I was slowly being drawn to the Church, as faith took root, as this Presence made Himself known so powerfully in my life, this song was one of my favorites. I used to sing it, in a low voice, under my breath, when I snuck into the college chapel every afternoon to pray. [Before reciting the Gloria. The only prayer I had memorized at that point!] At some point I even calligraphed the words onto a sheet and put them up in my room.
Jesus, you are my salvation. Jesus, you're my inspiration! Jesus, you are the treasure of my life.
The Lord uses everything to His own ends.

After Mass, I joined the throng that converged on the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (a favorite in India), to pray the Memorare and ask for Our Lady's protection and guidance.

In the announcements, they read the second banns of a couple getting married. When did you last hear that in the US?

And so many people stay in the sanctuary after Mass, praying!

Outside, I noticed a bulletin board standing to one side. Lots of devotions organized by the Holy Rosary society. There's Adoration! Yes! And I discovered that there's something called the Shrine of Our Lady of the Forsaken in Baroda. And there's a seminary in the city as well!

I didn't make it to seek out a priest during the week. I should be able to this week -- Tuesday is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, who has a huge following in India. I'll probably come out to daily Mass and try and find one of the clergy to talk with.

Three weeks here. I'm feeling a little less out of place. So far it's been the same two guys who sit next to me each week. That ol' Catholic pew-homing instinct. Next week, I'm going to introduce myself. Hopefully that won't be too American. :)

That liturgy handout thing I mentioned is available online, it seems. So these were the commentaries and stuff for Trinity Sunday. Probably used all over India.

For some good Trinity Sunday quotes and readings try
Pontifications In the one God are three pulsations that move the world. (St. Gregory of Nazianzus)
Mike Aquilina's "The Way of the Fathers"
Zadok Romanus: Cardinal Newman's prayer to the Trinity. (Where the heading quote on this post is from.)

For me, the way the Lord is speaking to me right now, is through the Prophet Ezekiel, from the reading for Lauds this morning.
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.


IndianCatholic said...

All the stuff that I mentioned last week seemed so silly and irrelevant.

It takes some time before the reverse-culture shock wears away..

If someone fresh off the boat from India(not the westernized parts like Bombay) participated in a Mass at an American parish, especially in summer, he may not be distracted as much by the liturgical practices as by the lack of modesty in attire.

The solution,regardless of the culture lies in what you said at the end:

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Hoping Amy sees this as well, and makes it known that "Tough Times" are over!

Gashwin said...

Yeah, I'd agree to a large extent. And the reason all that seemed irrelevant was because I was focused on the heart of the Mass, the Eucharist.

However, I would say, just because the Eucharist is present, this should not be an excuse for sloppy liturgy either. Ideally the proper celebration of the liturgy leads one to better celebrate (and live) the deeper reality, the "mysteries."

So, yes. A lot of it was reverse culture shock. And you're right on the money about reactions at an American parish in the summer.

But, I would say, treating the Liturgy of the Word with carelessness, for instance, should not be part of the culture anywhere - India, US, wherever. (And I've been to enough Masses in the US where the lector [and the preacher!] left a lot to be desired). And of course there's a fine line between the desire for liturgical excellence and falling into pride, or treating this as theater.

Anyway, the larer point is, as I mentioned and as you pointed out again, conversion. Definitely.

And, I try and follow this little maxim (which I first encountered on a retreat at Vinayalaya in Bombay years ago). "Blossom where you are planted."