As we continue to highlight the full and active participation of everyone at Mass, we should also notice that “full” participation involves more than one part of us! Have you ever noticed how the best liturgy involves all of our senses in a very full way?
Think about it. At Mass there is a lot to see (we Catholics are big into flickering candles, flowing robes, and sacred vessels held aloft, for example!). But there’s also a lot to hear: some of it comes with musical accompaniment while other sounds are words proclaimed boldly. The Eucharist itself has the appearance of bread and wine and so appeals to our sense of taste. Incense brings our sense of smell into the mix. And touch happens constantly: in our Catholic worship over the course of time we’ll feel the cooling touch of water, the heat of fire, the ointment of oil, and so forth. Beyond this, the more significant moments of graced touch are the many handclasps and embraces of fellowship which are part of being a follower of Christ.
Our voices proclaim God’s glory in song and prayer, which in turn inspire our ears, which also hear God’s Word. Our hands cradle sacred vessels and even the Body of the Lord in Holy Communion. Our eyes see (and sometimes get a bit misty!) at deliberately beautiful ceremony. Even our feet get involved in processions! I think you’ll agree our participation at Mass is pretty full after all.