Would you rather give a half-hearted offering like that of Cain, offering what the Lord had not desired, or would you rather give it all to God like Abel, who offered the best to the Lord?
Would you rather be like Judas Iscariot, who scolded Mary for wasting money on perfume used to anoint the feet of Christ before His death? especially that was out of false concern of the poor given that he desired the money for himself? or would you be rather be Mary indeed, who anointed the feet of Christ for His burial, even with the expensive nard-flower perfume and therefore like Abel, gave her best offering to the Lord?
Such is therefore, what we should think of, when we think about the Mass and the liturgy that surrounds it. Many would be in danger of misunderstanding the entire purpose of having such liturgies and rites of worship, and dismissing them as backward, elitist, showy, and wasteful in nature – No, indeed, in fact, all these are for the glory of God alone, and we wouldn’t give half-hearted gifts and attempts to our Lord. Our worship in the Mass is to the Lord alone, and the glory that is in the Mass, is for the glory of God.
So why elaborate vestments, with colourful and vivid images, even with golden thread or velvet? Why elaborate and jewelled mitres? Why elaborate church buildings, the Altar decoration and everything else? That is because all these are for the glory of God, and for God alone, and not for the glory of men. And in this too, as I had often mentioned, many would be able to learn more about the faith, and at the same time, bring worship closer to what it should be, that is, to be a heaven on earth, especially with the angels and the saints, we worship God together.
Men are visual creatures, and we base ourselves and our perceptions closely with our visions and what we see in our surroundings. One very strong argument why so many people had left the faith and became lost in the past decades was because the disappearance of beauty in our worship, not the beauty of excessive displays of course, but the true beauty of worship in that every part of the Mass and its liturgy has its own particular importance and meaning, even all the gestures made in the Mass.
Being visual creatures, men no longer see God as the divine He is, because especially like Science, which place accountability, reproducibility, etc. at the most important, especially visual proofs, men no longer see God because our worship had become so diluted, so abused by decades of excessive trials and innovations which ended up diluting this image of ‘heaven on earth’ in the Mass. The Mass becomes less a desire for all to come to other than just a ‘chore’ for many to come, and Sunday obligation becomes what it is, an obligation, rather than true desire to come and worship the Lord.
Therefore, it is important that in the coming future, our Church, while projecting itself ever more, as it had always done, in helping the needy and the unloved around the world, expanding its charitable acts which is already the world’s largest by significant margins, ever more, but most importantly also, at the same time, strengthening the anchor of faith, through the energetic and constant explanation of the faith and the Sacred Tradition, particularly on the Mass and its liturgy, especially to the youths and the newly baptised, that they will truly grasp what being a Catholic is about.
That being a Catholic entail not just being good person, helpful person, and caring person, but also someone who truly knows entirely what they are doing at Mass, at their worship of the Lord every Sunday, and who truly come for the Mass because they desire to seek the Lord, and understanding the beauty of the liturgy of the Mass, they become ever closer to God, and through this, be ever more blessed and loving, that they can bring forth this love in their service of others. Ora et Labora, a balance indeed required between prayer and worship, and the service facet of our faith.
In this manner, we must always remember this verse, which is also a very nice Psalm passage I had discovered, that in all things, we glorify God alone, particularly in the Mass, through all its beauty :
Non nobis, Domine, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam!
Not to us, o Lord, but to Your Name we give glory!
+Peter Canisius Michael David C. Kang
Ut Omnes Unum Sint, ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
21 April 2013, Good Shepherd Sunday