Priestly Worship

Ciel Tagaza

Many churchgoers trade the traditional Church they were born and baptized in for newer, “trendier” mega-churches. Some can relate more to the casually dressed preacher than the cassock-wearing clergyman, the concert-style worship than the liturgical hymns. And there are those who find congregating in arenas more welcoming than going inside a church for Sunday worship.

Good news for Catholics who may be looking for such venues to enliven their faith without leaving the Mother Church and giving up the Eucharist: there are Catholic charismatic communities that proclaim God’s word, that worship and witness in alternative ways without claiming to supercede the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Church’s traditions are indispensable. They are the heritage of our faith. On the other hand, the Spirit continues to renew and do new things, and we as the Body of Christ must be open to the Spirit’s leading. The Catholic charismatic renewal is a relatively new expression of Catholic spirituality. Catholic charismatics attend both charismatic gatherings and Sunday Masses because Charismatic praise and worship can never outdo a liturgical celebration. No amount of well-delivered talks, lighting effects, stage design, production and musical performance can surpass the Holy Mass. Why is that?

“In the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

“From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.”

– EXCERPT FROM THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 4, 1963

In as much as we actively and fully participate in our charismatic gatherings, we must do likewise when we attend the Mass. More than the audible responses, heartfelt singing and raising of hands, it is having the proper disposition and engaging ourselves fully – heart, soul and strength – in the rite. We do not go to charismatic gatherings to be entertained. Neither should we go to Mass to passively watch the priest worship on our behalf. He is not the only priest in the liturgy. Jesus is the one true Priest; the ordained bishop or priest acts in the person of Christ the Head. But by merit of our Baptism and Confirmation, we are all priestly. Therefore, let’s not waste our common priesthood and unite ourselves fully to the whole Church, the Body of Christ, as she worships and offers herself “through Him, with Him, in Him,” in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father
in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

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