Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Catholic Magpies...

... most of us aren't Carthusians or Trappists. The normal lay Catholic hasn't reach such levels of spiritual discipline. So tell me why, why, why do so many liturgists and church decorators think we need to have such an austere worship environment?

I get accused all the time of Catholic Snobbery. I idolize the ritual of liturgy. The pretty is more important to me than the prayers of the mass.

I think it's been clearly established, and well documented, I have spiritual ADD and the attention span of a gnat on Red Bull. It's all that pretty that keeps me engaged in the mass. The smells, the moving chant, the fancy vestments all keep my senses engaged enough to keep my hapless brain focused for one whole hour. Yes, it's that bad.

I am a Catholic Magpie. Shiny things attract me. Shiny things hold my interest. Ecclesiastical Bling keeps me focused on the liturgy. It has nothing to do with snobbery and every thing to do with my human weakness. It is not simply a matter of liturgical preference but purely a matter of spiritual necessity

17 comments:

Jacob Torbeck said...

This particular Magpie looks like a Dominican. :) My fave!

Anita Moore said...

The Carthusians may live in austerity, but this does not mean they compel God to do likewise. This was built by the Carthusians.

(And I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Carthusians are the only religious order that has not required a reform.)

Ashley Siferd said...

Ecclesiastical Bling for the win! Really enjoyed this post, thanks.

Adoro said...

Crescat, I love the way you write and the way you express yourself...and how you so often speak for so many of us!

After I visited the Cistercians and loved the starkness of their spirituality, it was all the more clear to me why there was such a deep void in my own home parish; because some are CALLED to that spirituality, but it cannot be inflicted upon the rest of us.

While, perhaps if I was younger or if the Cistercians allowed late Vocations, I would be with them, it was clear to me then as it is now, that few people could survive such an environment.

We as Catholics, we as any followers of Jesus Christ NEED Sacred Art, and it is in fact NECESSARY for our holiness, and therefore, salvation. It engages our senses in all of our temptations and directs us to Christ.

To remove Sacred Art, to build buildings devoid of images of Heaven embodied in Saints and Angels handcuffs the Faithful.

Even the Trappists and Cistercians have SOME Sacred Images about, for even though they are called to a stark spirituality based upon an intense interior life, they also need the exterior to remind them they are both body and soul.

The architecture of our modern parishes are Gnostic at best for they emphasize all the worst of the physical world and all that can go wrong with the spiritual.

Sorry for the soapbox. I'm done now.

Old Bob said...

Thanks, Kat! I have some liturgical ADD myself, so appreciate what you say.
Anita, I believe the motto is "Nunquam reformata quia nunquam deformata." - Never reformed because never deformed.

Cruise the Groove. said...

Kat,
Then you would love the Traditional Latin Mass as an every Sunday fare.
The TLM is full of the sense perception non boring non austere non Spartanlike liturgical vestments and items and smells that fill up the senses and give great glory to God.
There is an every Wed Night TLM at St Anns and a first Saturday of the month TLM at St Anns.
Also there is an every Sunday 9am TLM at St Anthony of Padua Church in Mt Holly, all full of Catholic "bling" and beautiful and holy distractions to keep your mind from wandering and to set it on deep prayer.
And the Gregorian Chant.....!

Rutherford's Musings said...

It's like you know me or something...

HoyaGirl, said...

I also am a Catholic magpie, and I can't believe I lived without this beauty for so many years in my journey to the church. I also think it keeps my kids engaged now that we're all Catholic - they never liked attending worship services before we converted. Gee, I wonder why? :)

Badger Catholic said...

Amen sista!

MommyMagpie said...

This is one reason I'm so thankful to be an Eastern Catholic. We're champions when it comes to ecclesiastical bling - even the 'simple' vestments for the hugely-concelebrated Divine Liturgy at the Uniontown Pilgrimage could never be mistaken for a misplaced tablecloth.

Julie said...

My parents' church is bare, and my complaint is that there is nowhere to rest the eyes while praying. I'm supposed to stare at that salmon-and-teal banner? And that's going to inspire me.... why again?

A.R. said...

I've heard that St. Teresa of Avila recommended using images during private prayer because looking at them can help redirect our focus when our attention wanders. I'm sure the same idea must apply to Mass too. Ooh, shiny! --> God

Mimi said...

How true that is.

(Side note: your headline says "magpies" and not "magnets" - I was prepared for a totally different topic...)

Robert Fernandez said...

The magpie looks like it should have the name, Sister Maggie Pietous. I would love to Photoshop the bird to look like she's wearing a habit.

Joe in Canada said...

Anita Moore, the Society of Jesus has never had a reform. Suppressed, yes ....

Denita said...

I guess that makes me a Catholic Magpie, too

romishgraffiti said...

Bling is associated with the Middle Ages, which is asscociated with hierarchy, which is associated with authority, and since most of the world (including many Catholics) are drunk on the blue poison of democracy and egalitarianism, they are always looking to eliminate the bling under the guise of "getting back to Early Church practice". Today I was reading Tolkien's letters and he said that getting back to the early Church was like uprooting a tree looking for the seed it came from. Thus, no matter how good the intention, progressive Christianity only goes in one direction: toward destruction and chaos.