Friday, March 09, 2007

Debunking the spiritual acid trip

Dr. Phil Blosser has posted an excellent reflection on the state of the liturgy vis-a-vis the desires of the Second Vatican Council especially as stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Of course, if you know the good Doctor, it doesn't stop just there. In particular I find his question on whether the ready accessibility of every part of the Mass to the people without some amount of intellectual exercise is in fact damaging to their overall comprehension to be both accurate and timely.

But the issue goes a bit deeper than these extraneous (if entertaining) horror stories. The question, really, is what does it mean that anyone should want to make the Mass "more real"? We already know by virtue of the principle of ex opere operato that the miracle of Transubstantiation objectively occurs and the sacrifice is rendered present for us on the Altar, regardless of what anyone perceives or feels. What more could we want? If the sixties, which gave birth to these strategies for "making it real" are any indication, I suppose what we want is some intensification of feeling generated by external means: the spiritual acid trip. We do not want to rely upon our own disciplined active effort in entering into the cosmic rite unfolding before us so much as to be passively swept up in the event, the 'happening', the warmth of the engaging priest's voice and words, his stories and jokes, the personal experience of the communal shared moment. In short, whether or not we thought there really was anything to this medieval mumbo jumbo about Transubstantiation, what we finally want is the piano bar, Jay Leno, and the acid trip.
Although this does bring to mind a question. If before what was going on "up there" wasn't spoken of, and what is going on "up there" is still not spoken of at the pulpit, then why do we think people are going to understand what is actually going on up there? Have we settled, or rather have some in the Church settled, for a "good enough" understanding of the Mass? As I suggested in his combox, "the most closed mind is the one that thinks it already has the answer and needs know no more". Put another way, that which seems obvious invites no deeper reflection to those not already inclined to dirty their hands in the hard work that is understanding the infinite. What do you think?