Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Experiencing the Mass in Sydney

Among the things I left behind in the Philippines is my service to my parish, which I had gradually detached from.  I wondered, though, what kind of spiritual life I would lead during my gap year, having been so used to a country that was historically and culturally programmed to be religious, and being active either in my community or the parish for the past twenty (20) years.

What should not come as news to me is that: 1) God is omnipresent and omnipotent, so of course He is here in Australia; and 2) I belong to the Roman Catholic church, and I can go to mass wherever and know the responses and be able to participate fully, even with a different community, and absent the guitar music that the choirs back home favored.

I am blessed indeed for in my Sydney family's parish resides a priest who delivers the most interesting, animated, and informative homilies using presentations that feature, among others, movies, songs, and books to bring the Gospel message to the people.  I look forward to Fr. Geoffrey Plant's homilies every Sunday.  I have subscribed to his YouTube channel.

One Sunday, however, a friend of mine invited me to hear mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in the city.  I had been to the cathedral but not to its solemn mass featuring the full choir.  It. Was. Amazing.  I was enveloped in the most beautiful music - from the organ to the choir -  that became prayers that were lifted up to the heavens. I was happy to sit and not sing - for some songs were in Latin - praying instead with the choir because I knew of what they were singing.  It was the mass, after all.  I do not know how to describe the experience.  Perhaps it is like sipping hot tea with honey on a cold, lonely afternoon, its warmth quietly enveloping you and taking you to a happier place.  Multiply that by a million times, that's how it felt to listen to the cathedral choir during solemn mass.

The priest then said words that became my theme for the week.

"To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." - Cardinal Newman

There are so many changes I am living with right now, and if they lead me to perfection, then I happily embrace them all.

No comments: