"Fans line up for midnight shows." "Gamers fired up for midnight release." These headlines are familiar to us in a culture that thrives on novelty. People get excited about the upcoming release of a movie or video game to such a degree that they camp out for hours, some in costume to get tickets or to be among the first to obtain a copy of a virtual experience, to feel as if they are, in some way, participating in it. What is underlying motivation of these individuals? Is it a hunger for something that is beyond them? Is it a desire to escape from their mundane lives and enter into something great?
I hate to break it to them, but it is not possible to become a part of 'Harry Potter' or 'Star Wars' just by showing up and dressing like a character, nor to be any more than a virtual player in HALO 3. There is another new release on the horizon that is different.
This new release allows for time travel, active participation in a transformational even, and a close encounter with a force more powerful than the one employed by Luke Skywalker. It is a new release that offers answers to the deepest questions and participation in the greates of all realities. It corresponds to the desire of humanity to see great things and answers the request of Philip at the last supper that is echoed by so many today: "Show us the Father" (John 14:8).
We are less than a novena away from the release of the new English translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. I believe it's worth the wait and it will not require you to deal with long lines, advanced ticketing or to come up with a costume (although appropriate dress is appreciated!). It is in the Sacred Liturgy that we are transported to Calvary and plugged into the Paschal Mystery in a manner that can literally change our lives through a close encounter with the God of the universe who comes to us in the Eucharist. In the liturgy we go beyond ourselves into the deepest vocation of the Church that is 'communio.' We are given what we need to live lives of greatness, to go beyond the securities we appropriate for ourselves, and the trivial matters which all too often dominate our everyday existence.
This hunger for meaning is particularly evident in the lives of young people. For this reason, it is a tremendous privilege to walk with them through the implementation of the new Roman Missal. What an opportunity to explore with them and to help them to "put out into the deep" riches of our Church which we celebrate through the Liturgy. It is in the liturgy that we encounter Christ in a concrete way and encountering Him, see the Father and come to know our own part in God's story. Far from just donning a costume for a movie premier, 'full, conscious, and active' participatioin in the liturgy allows students to engage the questions of true identity, coming to the Lord as they are, and to learn who it is they are called to be, with God's grace, in the drama of salvation history.
Personally, I am excited and anxiously anticipating the implementation of this gift from the Church. This time of preparation has allowed me to reflect on the importance of the liturgy in my own life and has made me keenly aware of my participation in daily Mass. I am more conscious of my responses and the meaning behind the words, especially the ones that directly echo Sacred Scripture.
The liturgy is the experience of Calvary now. It is the experience of heaven now. Past. Present. Future. Better than any video game or movie, the experience of union with Christ and his body, the universal Church is true and real. I am counting down the days and waiting in joyful anticipation that this moment will mark a time of renewal and rediscovery in the Church. My hope is that come November 27, all of us will embrace with joy this gift to the Church and be able to heed the commission: "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by" our lives.
- Sister M. Karolyn, FSGM