“Do you know the rhythm of the mass?” asked Angus. Robert was in the midst of seeking spiritual direction and was perplexed why Angus would ask such a question. Robert was having trouble hearing God during a difficult time and was hoping for something more; he was hoping Angus would give him the answer to his problems. That wasn’t going to happen. Angus wanted Robert to realize something far better than advice…
The rhythm of the mass has pretty much been the same since the Church began. It doesn’t matter where you are on a Sunday morning, in some form or another, you’ll find it similar. They rhythm is the four movements of corporate worship; “… praise and adoration; confession of who God is and who we are in relation to God; the sharing of the word in scripture and sermon and communion; and being sent forth to take our place as co-creators and co-proclaimers of the kingdom.”
The rhythm of the mass draws us out of ourselves and into God. For Robert, in his time of turmoil he found himself filled with words, too many words. It wasn’t until Angus asked him the question “…Do you know why we have confession before we receive the word?” that Robert realized his folly. Robert knew some of the steps, but he didn’t know the dance.
Robert Benson reflects that there are times when we do not know how to proceed in our life. We hope for a divine word, writing on the wall, an audible voice to guide us; but we don’t get it. We can’t hear because there are too many competing voices in our heads, too much noise, too many words, no matter how hard we pray.
“You cannot hear the Word right now,” said Angus, “because there is no room in you for the Word right now. You must live in confession for a while, until you are empty enough to receive the Word. That is the rhythm of the mass.”
That is why meeting together on Sundays is so important. It’s a time for us to become empty, then to be filled with the Word so we can be the Word in the world. The question for us is whether we are willing to sit in confession for a while to make room in our hearts?