Critique can open a way to dialogue and growth
I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,through my most grievous fault;
I came across a recent article criticizing this opening prayer of the Eucharist in Latin rite as extremely negative or defaming oneself. What could be the normal responses?
- You haven’t got the point about the mass or that prayer, and you are absolutely wrong.
- You are absolutely right.
- You are partially right/partially wrong.
Beyond these options of right and wrong, the critique should invite us to think and reflect. Is there some point in the critique? (I feel all critiques may have some facts correct) Whether the Christians (or some Christians) have got wrong at some aspects?
Without doubt, this prayer is the start of the eucharistic celebration. It speaks of a certain sinfulness or unworthiness (sins/faults/errors) of the human beings. But this is not the ultimate message of the mass; it is just the start of the Eucharist. In the prayer of Our Father, we call God as someone extremely very near and dear to us. Before the communion, we accept the unworthiness to receive Jesus, but we receive Jesus, the free gift. And the mass ends by saying, “go in peace”.
A message I take from the critique is a question for myself, “after the end of mass, what is my takeaway?” Is it of my sinfulness, or of the free gift I received or of the peace, I am sent with. If the message is that of my sin and sinfulness alone, I think the critique would be proved right.
Another image to illustrate the same point can be the word combination humiliation/humility. Does each participation in the mass leads me to humiliation? or does it lead to me to humility (i am not perfect, but I received a beautiful gift called Jesus and I am in peace) and gratitude? Does it sends me out as a sinner? or a loved/forgiven sinner (where loved/forgiven is more important than the word sinner)?
Anecodote: I do share this experience that annoyed and saddened me with a hesitation. I saw a couple of youngsters who came to the church (where I went) to celebrate the mass. Though masses in churches are allowed with masks, the holy communion have to received only in the hands (for sanitary reasons). Some of these youngsters were adamant, and they will receive the communion only in tongue. Since the priest didn’t give in tongue, they didn’t receive it. I was wondering, whether communion is important or my rituals/traditions. Many such actions (surely it is promoted by many priests and others) fail Jesus and prove our critiques right.