Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Rite of Election

This afternoon I had the privilege of singing with our City Choir for the Rite of Election for the north half of our diocese. It has been a few years since my work as a catechist with RCIA, so I haven't been to a Rite of Election for some time. I suppose I should explain that this is the official welcome of those who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church through Baptism at Easter, and also the "call to continuing conversion" for those already baptized who will join with the Church in Confirmation and Eucharist then.

Our Bishop got my attention when he preached on the topic of what it means to worship, since I have been pondering the same question. He talked about how the decision to worship God, to give oneself completely to Jesus Christ in Baptism, is a decision even more profound that marriage since it is a decision to belong entirely and only to God. Everything else finds its place and its meaning within the act of worship that is submitting to Baptism, to entering the Church.

I choked up on the last verse of the closing hymn we sang (to the tune of Ode to Joy)
Once you were an alien people, strangers to God's heart of love
Christ has brought you home in mercy, citizens of heav'n above
Let his love flow out to others, let them feel the Savior's care
That they too may know his welcome, and his countless blessings share
And it occurred to me that something as powerful and beautiful as this Rite, and indeed even the Sacraments themselves, are really best appreciated afterwards in witnessing others receive them. When it is all so new, it seems so bewildering and the meaning can float right by. I think this is why Lent is designed for the whole Church to travel with the Catechumens/Elect each year. We need to remember and thereby finally go deeper.

Here's an old David Meece tune, offered in solidarity with the Elect and candidates throughout the world. I will hold you in my prayers and affection, as I have promised today.

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