Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

There is a Season.

A person commented on my Clown Communion post with this remark: "Right. One thing that Christ is incapable of is a smile." Based on that comment, I don't think he understood my post so I lifted this from my com box to explain why I feel so negatively toward clowns, mimes, "liturgical" dances and other abuses of the Divine Liturgy of the Mass. I hope my commenter doesn't believe that I only think of Christ as the scriptural "man of sorrows." At times Jesus played with kids, at other times he withdrew to pray. Sometimes he wept, but that is not the point of my post. It's about the solemnity of the Mass which we also call the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. During Mass his sacrifice on the Cross is re-presented to the Father on our behalf. He is not re-crucified, that is a once and done event in history. Here goes:

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven. When Jesus becomes present on the altar in a validly celebrated Catholic or Orthodox Mass, heaven is opened and literally comes to earth. All the angels as described in revelation sing "Glory Glory Glory." In the Book of Revelation the Mass is described in metaphorical terms and no where is there anything equivalent to clowns, jesters in the court presiding over the great feast. Please read Scott Hahn's book The Lamb's Supper for more on this. This is the time to throw ourselves on our knees and faces and worship in spirit and in Truth. It is not the time to display levity, foolishness, mime etc.

Perhaps if I frame it out like this you could understand it. Imagine, the priests of the Old Testament officiating in the holy of holies, and they thought to spice it up and bring it down to the level of the people, they decided to put on their dancing shoes and white face! Oy ve'.
As Catholics, we believe that Christ literally enters the room at the time of the consecration of the elements. Imagine the Queen of England coming into a room and you decide to greet her in whiteface and big red rubber nose. Ouch! Someone much more royal than the Queen of England is present at every Mass. That is why it seems like a mockery of the greatest miracle that still happens each day in every Mass across the world.

There is a time and a place in Catholic devotional life for us to joyfully throw ourselves into His loving arms. We can do that in a spiritual sense in the Mass, but it is not the place for clowns. Catholic saints throughout the ages have written and preached about a joyous loving intimate relationship with Christ. Read Therese of Lisiuex, St. Faustina, and you will see that Catholicism celebrates with great joy our relationship with our Father God. But the Mass as it has been celebrated for 2000 years has always been solemn and the highest form of worship God has allowed us this side of the veil. When we yearn to go back to the way things were in the early church in our worship, we have to get ready to Celebrate the Sacrifice, not "Send in the Clowns."

I can't be sure but I think it would be safe to say that Christ, as he ex-sanguinated, hanging on the cross presenting his Body to the Father for all of mankind, was not smiling. Just to reiterate once again, in Mass, Christ is not re-sacrificed, but His sacrifice, which goes beyond the mortal bounds of time and space, is again re-presented to the Father at every Mass. If you can get a glimpse of that for yourself , you will see why some of us Catholics become nauseated at the thought of clowns, mimes, jesters, etc anywhere near an altar in a Catholic Church.

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven and the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar as it was termed by the early Church Fathers is neither the time of the place for clowns, jesters, mimes and dancers. They would not have been tolerated in the Temple either. Besides WWJD?
He freaked out when he saw His Father's house being defiled. I can do no less.


Blogger MMajor Fan said...

All sacrifice is to God the Father (remember Him?) Christ is not sacrificed to himself, but to God the Father. People better get a hold of that memory real soon. God's not a slip on the banana peel on the altar and have a good chuckle over Christ's crucifixion kind of guy. Some people better reread the Old Testament and get a hold of some respect before they get to the Judgment Laugh Factory in the Sky.

August 05, 2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Thankfully I haven't seen any horror shows like that, but I admit the first time I saw a liturgical dancer (not at my parish, thank God) my reaction was such that I felt the need to see Father in the confessional at the first available opportunity.

Just as an aside, TJ, since we're both former evangelicals, wouldn't it be interesting to know how many of us, once we become Catholics, lean quite conservative in our liturgical sensibilities. That we want good hymnody and reverent celebration of the Mass and reject the free-for-all leftovers from the 60s and 70s. We've seen a lot of the whoop-de-do in our other life and some of us desire something more transcendent than that.

(All being said, I have no problem with any graces that flow out of groups like the Catholic Charismatic Renewal so long as they stick close to the GIRM in their liturgy and place themselves in faithful obedience within the structure of the Church.)

August 05, 2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger + simonas said...

Point taken. While I do think there are other things happening at the Mass, once we come to "Lift up your hearts", I think I agree with you. Thank you for clarification and correction.

August 06, 2007 4:18 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes I totally agree with you as well! Thanks for reading through my post here Simonas.
Fr. Larry Richardshas a talk called "The Mass Explained." When I first heard it, it revolutionized my understanding of what is actually going on, and helped me to realize how important an event it is.
I got bunches of the CD and I now give them out, mostly to Catholics, to explain why the Mass.
Sadly many Catholics, including myself, as a young person, had literally no idea or interest in what was going on.

August 06, 2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Great points! Especially the part about needing to go to confession after watching the dancers! In our old evangelical churches we had worship dancers. They were usually teams of young women and unfortunately for a time, their costumes were fairly inappropriate as far as modesty goes.
Can you imagine, being in church, trying to worship God and watching buxom young ladies literally "bouncing" around the church. I solved the problem by looking at the floor during the worship dances and I came to really dread the sundays when the dance team performed. I don't think I am any more lecherous than other men, but found it not to be worshipful for me because of the battle for the custody of the eyes. I don't think I was the only man struggling with this but perhaps one of the few willing to admit it?
At least during church, I didn't want to sin in that area! And back then I didn't have confession.
Yes it is interesting that many of us have become more conservative regarding out tastes since returning. Maybe that would make a great post. I also agree heartily with you regarding the gifts and graces of the charismatic renewal, as long as they are done in order as the Church requires.
Thanks for the comments!

August 06, 2007 8:47 AM  

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