Monday, October 17, 2005

The biggest lie in education today:
"Education should be fun." That's not true. Being educated is fun. The work of becoming educated is work, and usually isn't fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm gonna take my soul and go home!

I attended a Byzantine Divine Liturgy in the cathedral in Peoria last Sunday. You can read all about it here. (I note that at Amy Welborn's blog, a post about a wonderful divine liturgy devolved in the comments into sniping over the latin mass. Never mind the wonderful event that 1100 people attended!) I was standing near the back, and a woman in front of me turned around to ask my wife and me if she could go up at communion with her arms crossed to receive a blessing, since she wasn't Catholic. I told her that she shouldn't go up, since we don't have the custom of giving blessings in our church. In fact, if you cross your arms on your chest, that's our normal way of receiving the Eucharist; the priest would be confused. Better, said I, to remain standing at your place.

"Then I think I'll just go home!" says the woman, as she gathers up her stuff.

"But. . . ." said I, flabbergasted, "there's a blessing at the close of liturgy!" But it was too late. She'd decided that if she couldn't get her Special Personal Blessing, she wasn't going to stay.

This led me to reflect on just how awful the custom is of going up to "get a blessing" rather than communion. It arises from bad eucharistic theology, the theology of the communion of the faithful with each other, rather than with one's Lord. This theology requires everyone to receive. God forbid you remain prayerfully in your spot. People might stare! Everybody goes up to communion these days, sinners and saints alike. Boy, if you stay in your seat, you must be some kind of pervert or murderer!

Look, given the rate of mortal sin going on (judging by the statistical evidence--of course the statistics can't reveal the internal states of people's souls), most people should be refraining from taking communion. Then we wouldn't have to adopt the barbarous custom of giving individual blessings when there are blessings written into the entire liturgy.