WEEK TWO: Sacraments (Celebrating the Christian Mystery)
DAY 1: Aligning Ourselves with God (Worship and Liturgy)
The secret to winning the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey is to line yourself up as best you can with the picture on the board. This is not easy to do when you’re blindfolded and have been spun around several times! We tend to miss the mark.
The goal of the upcoming Year of Faith is to make sure that in our spiritual lives, we are aligned with God’s will. This is not easy, but at the same time we are not blindfolded in this task. God has provided us with everything we need to align ourselves with him and his will. Through worship and liturgy, we align ourselves with God. In fact, Catholic worship is the second pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and it encapsulates how we express our faith—primarily through our worship.
To worship (in Hebrew) means to “bow down to.” Notice what we do when we bow: we physically align ourselves—we orient ourselves—with the person or thing to which we are bowing. To bow to someone or something is to say, in essence, “I direct all of my being to you.” This is why the First Commandment directs us to not bow down before any false gods, but rather to direct our entire being to God alone. As Christians, the way we strive to keep ourselves aligned with God is through worship. As Catholics, this worship takes place in the life of the sacraments, and centrally, through the celebration of the liturgy. In fact, the seasons of the liturgical year help us to align all time and all of our activities toward God through the liturgy.
Without worship, we easily veer off path, often unknowingly sliding into patterns of life that take us away from loving God and neighbor and, instead, keeping us focused on ourselves. In a sense, we all suffer from a type of “spiritual amnesia.” In other words, it is human nature to forget to pay attention to our spiritual dimension. Worship is our constant reminder that our lives need realignment so as to be directed toward God who is love. In essence, to worship is to love, for to love is to direct all of our attention – our very being – to the presence of another.
Every so often, our cars need a wheel alignment. The Year of Faith is an invitation for us to get an alignment – not for our cars, but for our souls.
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- How does worship and liturgy help to align us with God’s will?
- What does it mean that “we are not blindfolded” in the task of seeking to align ourselves with God’s will?
- What tends to “throw off” your alignment with God in day-to-day life?
- What does it mean to say that we all suffer from a type of “spiritual amnesia?”
- What does society invite us to worship (bow down to, align ourselves with) instead of God?
- What season of the Church’s liturgical year do you most look forward to and why? How does that season help you to better align yourself with God?
Lord, God, I am so often tempted to direct my energies and attention to things other than you. Help me to align myself with your will so as not to fool myself into thinking that anything other than you can bring me salvation. Help me to worship you – to direct my mind, heart, soul, and strength to you – so that I might not fall victim to spiritual amnesia but will always remember that I was made to know, love, and serve you.
- Why Go to Church?
- From Church to God
- What to Worship
- God Wants Our Friendship
- Do Catholics Worship Statues?
CCC References: 1066 – 1134
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I hope you’re enjoying our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.