Thursday, January 20, 2011

Liturgical Language

Last year about this time
I started posting entries in this blog
about my trip to Juquila
in Oaxaca, Mexico.
My “Road to Juquila” blog entries
will continue this year
as I’ve just recently returned
from a 2nd pilgrimage
to Our Lady’s holy sanctuary.
as always,
my trips to Mexico
fill me with thoughts,
my trips renew and boost my faith,
and visits to various ruins
(this year, Tula and Mitla)
always serve to move me to action.

in the months to come
I’ll post pictures
and generous
Rubi Ramblings
on all of the above.

But right now. . .
. . well. . . right now. ..
let’s discuss Liturgical Language.

Or even,
language in general.
You know,
language changes.
When I was growing up
we never “Googled” anything.

Texting while driving wasn’t a problem.

Ipod, Ipad, Iphone, 
Zune, Wii,
email, hotmail, gmail, 
blog, blogger, blogging, blogged, blogosphere .. .
. . .none of these words existed.

How about,
using some of those words in a sentence:
"Today I Googled tethering an Iphone to an Ipad."
Although in English,
some in the English speaking world
might not have a clue
as to what that even means!

And when I was growing up
the words to the song were:
“. . and we’ll all feel gay
when Johnny comes marching home.”
When my son sang it in school
a few years back
the language had changed:
“and we’ll all be glad.”
language changes.
Vocabulary grows.

And there is an identity
in language.
I’ve worked with immigrants
all of my adult life.
And while those in the mainstream
complain that
“If they want come here
they need to learn English,”
some compassion really needs to take place.
It’s not a resistance
to learning a new language.
It’s about one’s sense of identity.
And this,
for both those in the so called “mainstream”
as well as for those
living in the margins.
There is identity in language.

is a touchy, touchy subject.

The Liturgy has a language all its own.
It’s not just the words we speak
or listen to,
but the symbols speak.
Even our gestures speak.

until this week,
I haven’t given much thought
to the changes in liturgical language
for the English speaking world.

That’s a lie.
I have.
But not in the proper pastoral context.

To tell the truth,
I have been absolutely frustrated
and even angered
by the whole idea.
Only I just didn’t realize it.

I placed a phone call
to a friend of mine
who also works in the area of liturgy.
She put into words
some of those things
that have been hiding in my thoughts.

The change in language
will bear a dollar sign.
New hymnals, new Roman Missals,
workshops and training, etc.

will begin to advertise
so as to beat out other publishers in sales.

And there will be work,
much work,
for those
who have already done so much
to make our worship so wonderful.
Liturgical composers
will need to rewrite their works
if they hope to be included
in the next edition
of hymnals and songbooks.
they will have to do the work
they have already done
all over again.
We will be asking creative and talented people
to stop their creativity
for a do-over.

The Church certainly has
more than her share of crises right now. . .
. . .declining clergy. . .
. . .church closures. . . abuse scandals. . .

Not to even mention the fact
that the church seems to be dividing herself
into two factions:
liberal and conservative.

And text translation
is what we are worried about???
That’s not logical, Captain Kirk.

I currently serve in a parish
that is primarily Spanish speaking.
That may be another reason
that I haven’t given serious
pastoral thought
to these changes.

But enough of my inner thoughts
and on to the world of  Church.
There are translation changes
and those who preside,
those who lead music,
those who in any way are involved
in liturgical ministries
need to prepare
and then implement these changes.
The changes are real
and I consider myself
to be among those
who need to prepare
for said change.

It’s time to leave the world
of personal opinion
and travel the road
to Pastoral Thought.

I received an email the other day
and I followed a link in that email.
as things go,
several links later
I was at a parish website
where they actually have a
team for
The Implementation of The Roman Missal.
they certainly seem to be on the ball!

But that link
was an evangelizing moment for me.
“Everything happens for a reason,”
my friend, Marcy, always says.
There’s a reason I landed at the website.
There’s a reason
(or maybe several reasons)
why the simple title of that committee or team
moved me to write this blog entry.
But more,
I realize that I will play a key role
in the implementation of these changes,
in turn,
means that I have quite a bit of homework before me.

that simple text on that website
was what I call a Juan Diego moment:
Evangelizing those
who think they are already Evangelized.

And, as always,
things that frustrate at first,
things that anger me at first,
are the very things
that move me into action.
I’m an affective person.
Strong emotions
usually bring about creativity
and action.
At least,
it does for me.

And so while I do not understand
what the logic is
that put text translation
above some of the other crises
the Church faces,
I’m also not going to worry about it
too much anymore.
Everything happens for a reason.
And while the reason isn’t clear to me
at this moment in time and space,
I am certain
that the reason or reasons
will be abundantly clear
in the course of Salvation History.
So be it.

“And with your spirit.”
We already respond in this fashion
for the Spanish language liturgy,
“.. .y con tu EspĂ­ritu.”