We’re still discussing our celebration of the Eucharist. We’re especially looking at how way our Mass really is supposed to be a “cooperative effort” of the whole community. Last week I pointed out how the many and varied roles at Mass encourage the full and active participation of as many people as possible.
This week don’t think about who is doing something at Mass but what they’re doing. I hope you’ve noticed that our Catholic worship is not private prayer but instead is shared worship. I know this is kind of basic, but it’s still important to think about now and then.
At Mass we don=t simply let people say whatever personal prayers they want. No, we pray together, using words from the Bible or other traditional prayer texts. I guess the Lord’s Prayer is the classic example of this. Sometimes we sing or recite prayers in unison, while at other times we alternate with readers or choir (as in the responsorial psalm which follows the first reading) or respond together to certain invitations of the priest or deacon.
There’s a place in our spirituality for private prayer. In fact, it’s essential. But the Mass is another essential part of the spiritual life of a follower of Christ Jesus, and in fact it is a communal experience in which we are present not only to the Lord but also to one another.