Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More on Liturgy and Grieving

It has been two weeks since the person I loved most died, and I have been the role liturgy and ritual are playing in the grieving process.

Mass the first weekend after the burial was difficult, bcause even though I am a seasoned choir singer and cantor, it's hard to praise the Lord when you do not understand why something devastating has happened in your life. Words in several songs brought me to tears. This last weekend was better - I was "drafted" when the scheduled cantor did not show up, and made it through with almost my usual degree of energy, only losing it on the final verse of the communion song, Bob Hurd's "Ubi Caritas" where the saints in heaven gather to sing praise.

Today, in comforting someone who was also a close friend of the deceased who is not Catholic, I witnessed to the power of the funeral liturgy. I told her "The reason I did not cry much during the liturgy at the funeral home and at the cemetery was because even though it was not quite all according to the book (the priest got a little mixed up a few times) it WAS liturgy - and there is comfort in the ritual for us Catholics. It grounds us and gives us a familiar place to go when life gets painful..."

Have you found the liturgy a "familiar place" to go when all else in your life is chaos? What has that meant for you at the time, and in later reflection on the experience? (OK, let's do mystagogy here!)

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