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Although, technically since we had class tonight I’m barely three weeks behind on catechism journaling. Still, I need to catch up. Two weeks ago we went over the Mass and last week we discussed sacramentals and the sacraments. Both were general overview lessons; we will go much more in depth into each as we continue the course.

I took a crazy amount of notes for the mass lecture, but the interesting part was the effect it had on me the next time I attended mass. Most of the class/update/textbook was familiar to me already from having attended masses before, so I thought I wasn’t really learning much. In fact, I thought last week was a bit too basic, other than some really interesting etymology lessons. I was wrong. Because on Sunday I was hyperaware of all the steps, symbols, rituals as we went through them. My brain kept pinging back to what was said in class the Tuesday before. Also, I participated more in mass than I had before – I blessed myself with Holy Water upon entering (don’t normally do), I attempted the Sign of the Cross at the prescribed times (although it felt funny). I still have to type up my copious notes, but for the sake of journaling I think the effect of the class outweighs the notes, so I’m going with this as my official post. (Hopefully I’ll do better this week. Losing Artemis had a surprisingly large effect on how much I got done that week, and as I tell my college success class to encourage staying current or even ahead of one’s homework, once you fall behind it’s really hard to catch up again.)

Except "expanding" could also be called "babbling."

OH – did you know you kneel on your LEFT knee for humans (kings, wedding proposals, etc.) because the RIGHT knee is reserved for God? Last Sunday I managed to kneel on the right knee. That was harder than it should have been. I think I will always have to sit on the right side of the church to ensure I keep it up. Also, the interesting etymology bits: Euchrist and Litergy are from the Greek. Eucharist means “to thank” and liturgy means “public work” or “work of the people.” You aren’t just supposed to sit there during mass, you are supposed to actively participate (or work, people!) in the ritual. Mass is from the Latin phrase *ite missa est* meaning “it is the end.” Apparently they ended the service with that phrase, and we shorthanded it. During the class Father Cayer read from a book by St Justin Martyr from 165 AD. It was St Justin’s description of the mass. It was extremely similar to what we do now. And apparently from 1570 to 1962 the format of Mass didn’t change at all. Vatican II changed the language and some stuff (facing the congregation, etc.) but kept the heart of Litergy the same. So as he was reading from St Justin, I could easily picture every Mass I’ve ever attended. Amazing. He did that to say the following about ritual – we have ancient ties, we’re standing on centuries of development. He also compared rituals to trains – they will not stop for you. If you are late for a train, you have to catch up to it. But they also carry you along. So on those days when you are not inspired, you can still participate as it will carry you through. Better yet, on the days when you are inspired, that’s when it truly becomes the work of the people. I was a quite happy to hear him say this, because it actually mirrors what I said about standardized prayer versus improvised prayers.

OH – the other big breakthrough for me was I finally realized what they meant by *Feast of the xyz.* In my mind a feast is like Thanksgiving day or a buffet, but the feast is the Eucharist. They are at table, feasting. Also, each and every Eucharist symbolizes three days: Holy Thursday (at the table of the Lord), Good Friday (the crucifixion), and Easter Sunday (the resurrection) so each Mass is a mini-reenactment. I had no idea, and it actually took three explanations (a video, a pamphlet, and Father Cayer) before it clicked in my head, but when it did I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it before.

FINALLY – the host of the cheesy 80’s video that they showed made a Simon and Garfunkle, quoting a line from Old Friends. During my walk at lunch that day, Old Friends was one of the songs I played. I love coincidences! Too bad it wasn’t a Beatles reference and a Beatles song – that would have been hysterical.


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August 2018


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