Friday, June 21, 2013

FIve Things Every Catholic Should Know How to Do (IMHO)

(1)   Make the appropriate gestures at the appropriate times during mass: genuflecting, kneeling,  making the sign of the cross, honoring  the Blessed Sacrament as it passes in procession.  Uncertain about what these are? Get a copy of the General Instruction for the Roman Missal (GIRM—available online) and do a little research.  It’s not expensive nor is it long and hard to read.  And remember—GIRM only addresses what is expected—personal devotion has a lot of latitude during mass so don’t get all bent out of shape if others do things a little differently than you do as long as you are on the same page at the indicated times (please no comments about holding/not holding hands or kneeling/standing to receive in the hand/on the tongue!).  Catholics worship with our bodies as well as our hearts, minds, and voices—learning the gestures (and why we make them)  enhances worship as well as gives evidence of our unity. 

(2)   Sing at least a few things in Latin.  I would start by learning the Ave Maria, Sanctus and the Agnus Dei.  If those appeal, branch out.  Chant is supposed to have pride of place in our worship.  Too many Catholics are totally unfamiliar with it.  If you want an easy way to learn both words and the music for common chants, Jay Violette has created instructional CDs in The Chant Kit, which can be ordered online.

(3)    Make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament.  Modern man has almost lost the ability to be still and quiet, both necessary prerequisites for listening to what God has to say to us.  Sitting for an hour without anything to “do”—nothing to read or hear or watch—can be difficult at first, but time spent with Jesus is always time well spent.  There is an abundance of material on how to ease into this practice—find a book, pamphlet, or website and start (and please, leave Time at home...both the magazine and the concept.)  Before you know it that time will be the most precious time you spend in worship.

(4)   Pray the rosary. Yes, I know this is not required in order to be a good Catholic but it is a wonderful prayer and almost emblematic of being a Latin rite Catholic (just ask any Protestant)..  I am astounded at how many people do not know the prayers –the Apostle’s Creed  and the Salve seem to be real stumbling blocks.  If necessary, get a CD and listen to it in the car until you have it all down—then you can make praying the rosary a habit if you want.  And even if you don't you'll end up somewhere, some time, in a situation where knowing how to pray the rosary comes in handy...I promise.

(5)   Repair a rosary.  Trust me, bending wire is not that hard.  Spend five bucks and get a pair of needle nosed pliers available at any craft store and at your local Wal-Mart.  Most times, a repair only means opening and closing a loop.  If you need to replace a bead, craft stores have them and the necessary eye pins as well.  Instructions abound on the Internet.  If you learn how to fix a rosary, you’ll never use the use of your favorite beads…and beads, if they are used, invariably will break.  BEads are meant to be used...

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