Thursday, September 9, 2010


This week I am in Stratford for the Shakespeare Festival. There is something uplifting about Shakespeare that you don’t get watching television reruns. On the other hand there is nothing deadlier than Shakespeare done poorly. Shakespeare is not the stuff for children. Yet if we did not have our children see it or perform it, there would rarely be an adult who appreciates it or is able to perform it.

Actually that might be to the liking of some who, as adults, find Shakespeare daunting or even boring. Like symphonies at first they must often be endured until the ear, the eye, and the mind understand what it is they are perceiving. It is like a foreign language that is at first painful to listen to for so much effort is needed to try to understand what is being said. But once mastery begins there is so much joy in understanding the language, in unlocking the joys of Shakespeare, of hearing what tuned ears have come to appreciate in concerts. The more one listens, the more one understands. The more one understands, the more that is gained from listening. The more one ascends, less appreciated are the more rudimentary joys of one’s baser self and there is no going back. It would be turning in your steak for Nerds.

Mass is not too far from this. It is not meant for children’s enjoyment. At first it is endured. To the attendee that desires to train his soul to hear the depths of the Mass one’s appreciation soars. To the one who throws heart and soul into the Eucharist the more there is to gain. The deeper one studies the all that is contained in this great work of God and man, the more one’s soul finds joy in receiving Him so and will find no other comfort like it in this world.

Thus do great things grow within a man, becoming part of him, elevating him, and in the end ruining him for lesser things.


Anonymous said...

If I understand what you said ... is terrible! You are a philosopher.

Anonymous said...

Father, your ability to analyze a "secular" situation and draw from it parallels to the faith is most helpful to me.

Excellent reflection on the Mass and how much we miss if we don't apply ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly when the Church tries to make it enjoyable for children, e.g. the Life Teen Mass, they end up leaving and rarely come back.

I've noticed too that the Extraordinary Form takes the modern ear a little time to get used to. Popular culture has really stunted our sensibility for beauty.