As integrated persons, human beings worship not only in mind and spirit but also in body. As whole persons, we have a natural tendency to act out or solemnize our deepest experiences. Our prayer is enriched by ritual. When we pray alone, we each have our own private rituals. They may be as simple as lighting a candle or sitting in a quiet place, walking outdoors or playing reflective music. Public rituals are meant to enable us to connect with others as a community and share what is meaningful in our lives, to focus together on the Holy Mystery at the center of our living and actions. That is why quality liturgies are so important. They awaken us to the sacred in life and nourish a commitment of the heart.
Receive my prayer, O God, as incense burning in your sight.
What are the rituals that connect me with the Mystery of God? Reflect on the common rituals of ln your early life both religious and ordinary. Which have been meaningful? What rituals can you use now ?
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight.
Luke 13: 24 – 35
A ritual becomes the match that lights the kindred celebration candle of sacred moments long ago… tantalizing these entombed spirits to surface again.
Religious ritual is a way of structuring time so that we, not employers, the market or the media, are in control. Life needs its pauses, its chapter breaks, if the soul is to have space to breathe.
I had a longing for ritual, something I could cling to, a routine to make me feel well and contented. I hoped that reading Bible commentaries and theological critiques would nudge me closer to some kind of absolute that I could hold up as a torch to light my way.
The time I spend in the morning – praying, sipping coffee, and coming up with my list – is a ritual I relish. I have done it for so long now that I subconsciously measure whether or not the things I’m doing match with what I should be doing, what I want to be doing, and the life I want to live.
I enjoy ritual and ceremony. What I don’t like is when it’s badly done or sloppily done. This is actually a theological issue – the forms we adopt, the actions we take, the way we do things, are, as it were, a sacrament.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.