Joseph Martos
Application of concepts in this chapter
by Dr. Joe Martos - Monday, 23 November 2009, 5:13 PM

Reflections by Arokia Vincent (with her permission):

As I see it, the invariance of liturgical ritual is such a gift, for it allows me to attend mass anywhere, in any language, especially if I am traveling. There are 25 official languages in India and when the Eucharist is celebrated in the vernacular, I often have to rely on the invariant structure of the liturgy to help me be a part of the celebration. While in Chicago, we once attended a mass in Polish (We got the timings wrong for the English Mass!) but it was just as fulfilling as attending a mass in English. We had no trouble following the ritual.

I think this might be an illustration of ritual sensibility. Every time there was a baptism during mass at our parish church, I was so taken up into the sacredness of it – the symbolism was so powerful and the performance was beautiful – that I decided that if I had another baby, we would have the baptism during a community mass. But, as it turned out, the parish we were in when my son Alex was born offered only private baptisms. I was rather disappointed, and so we invited some of our friends, all of whom were non-Christians, and we had to constantly hush them during the ritual. This was because, in a Hindu religious ceremony, only the people directly involved participate in the ritual, and everyone else can socialize freely. So our friends were not being disrespectful. Their ritual sensibility was simply quite different from ours.