Well, I just helped altar serve a truly spectacular Mass of the last supper. There were eight of us altar serving. Including three under the age of ten, who were very well behaved even if the youngest was allergic to incense and was the incense boat bearer. The two lads didn’t hold up their candles for the consecration, but other than that it went perfectly. I even managed to revive the thurible twice from the very brink of going out. When we’d processed to the sacred heart side altar and we got to the Tantem Ergo me and the priest burst into song. It was a very special moment. So beautiful to be with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.
Also as a random aside, why does the priest wash the feet of twelve men, representing the apostles, I understood that Judas left early to betray Jesus, so there were eleven. Is it to suggest that we should even wash the feet of our enemies? Answers in the combox please.
The beauty of everything happening exactly according to what it says in the rubrics is undeniable, (well it was very good as far as me and the priest could tell.) This beauty in simply doing things by the book is akin to reveling in obedience. Does this desire for the same liturgical actions year in, year out perhaps mirror God’s joy in the monotony of creation that the Chesterton quote mentioned a couple of posts back? So yes what a staggering beauty and a massive honour and gift it is to be able to give glory to God! This God who saved us even while we were his enemies and while we are still utterly hopeless sinners if we were without God’s Grace. I am beginning to understand why God made Peter the first Pope. Because he was a fool! he is always the one to be brash and misunderstand what Jesus is doing, in the last supper he doesn’t understand the washing of feet. Just after his great declaration of faith Jesus tells him to ‘get behind me Satan’. In the Gospels I most identify with him because I too am a fool, utterly reliant on God’s grace.
And talking of being a fool (yes I did just start a paragraph with the word; and, deal with it!), I was talking to a friend of mine and realised that she is a massive heretic. A heretic is simply someone who doesn’t admit defeat, who won’t recognise that Petrine spirit within themselves. Their ideas can be soundly shot down in flames and exposed as complete hokum and they will turn to “well lets agree to differ”. No lets not! lets have some fidelity to the truth that sets us free. Lets be argumentative until we fall on the floor with exhaustion. Anyway that’s what my foolhardy Petrine spirit says. Of course only the holy spirit can convert her and perhaps my arguing with her is counter productive but hopefully the logic of the faith will be there at the back of her mind if and when that happens so she’ll have something concrete to come back to. I ask everyone who is better at prayer (which is basically everyone) to pray for her and for all heretics who agree to differ that they be infected with this foolhardy petrine spirit of faith.
Finally I hope you all have a beautiful and spectacular good Friday and Easter Sunday! Pray for me and all altar servers and priests that we can both serve immaculately and focus on the mysteries of the Mass! Sometimes I do wish I didn’t have to do anything so I could better participate at Mass, but alas if I don’t do it then nobody else will.