If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not About Me

This essay is from my first book, We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed.  I am in the process of revising it per the latest translation of the Creed (2011). I hope to publish the updated version in the fall.
Creed Statement: Through Him all things were made

Today's Focus: Through Him

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

It's all about Jesus.

Always has been. Always will be. Always should be.

I ought to think of that before I start complaining about His business. Like the Mass, for example.

My wife and I had hardly left the sanctuary one Sunday morning before I groused about the service. “I wish we’d sing modern choruses instead of centuries-old hymns . . . I thought the priest could have made a stronger point about that Gospel passage . . . I’d like it better if we knelt for prayer . . . I wonder why . . ."

Then I noticed my emphasis:
I wish. I thought. I’d like. I wonder. My problem became disturbingly clear: I think the Mass – even life, if I’m honest -- is all about me.

Well, it’s not. The Mass, and all we do before and after we come into His presence is about the One through whom all things were made ‑ heaven, earth, mountains, sea . . .  It’s about Jesus, through whom I receive reconciliation to the Father, forgiveness and redemption.

For by Him all things were created,” wrote St. Paul, “both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. . . And in Him you have been made complete . . . having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 1:16; 2:10-12)

I can't help but notice Scripture’s emphasis: By Christ. Through Christ. For Christ. In Christ. With Christ.

There's not a thing in there about

Perhaps if I entered the Eucharistic Celebration centered more on Him and less on me, I wouldn’t be so quick to whine. If I cultivated a deeper relationship with Christ through the week, I wouldn't be bored with that holy hour on Sunday. If I meditated on the Mass readings before I left for church, the Holy Spirit might have more kindling to spark my passion for the Mass. If I entered the sanctuary early enough to pray, my heart would be ready to worship long before the Celebration began.

When I focus on me, it's easy to find fault with the priest, the choir, the temperature, the baby crying in the back. When my focus is on Him – through Whom all things were made – then all things fall into proper perspective.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, You spoke through the prophets. Help me understand the depth of those powerful words of the Creed: Through Him, all things were made.



Melanie Jean Juneau said...

I am grinning inside and out, "YES, AMEN"

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts Rich. So difficult to get the "I" out of everything, isn't it?

Richard Maffeo said...

Thanks, Melanie.

Richard Maffeo said...

Andie -- egocentric vs Christocentric. Always the struggle. Always the call.

Christian LeBlanc said...

Jesus is the Logos; and the Mass is something He mostly does, not us.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Excellent points about getting to church early to pray and studying the Scriptures of the Mass in order to be properly prepared. My prayer life and time at Mass have been greatly enriched by studying the scriptures of sacred liturgy of the particular Mass celebrated that day. Sure, we can always find something to complain about, even in celebrations of the Extraordinary Form which I attend exclusively, but concentrating on the Mass itself helps me be a lot more detached and a lot more attentive to Christ. Still have a long way to go, though.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Rich! Coincidentally, earlier this week, I was writing a scene for my new novel between two characters (brothers). One brother tells his selfish brother the difference of being egocentric versus Christocentric! Wow! Thanks!

Richard Maffeo said...

Ellen, your comment got me chuckling. Seems like your scene may be on the right track :)

Richard Maffeo said...

Barb, you said: "Still have a long way to go, though." To which I say, "It's all part of the journey. So long as we keep pressing forward, we're moving forward."

Richard Maffeo said...

Christian, yup. As I said, it's all about Him. Lord help us really learn that.

Ultreya Coeur said...

Amen! Thank you for the reminder to keep Christ at the forefront.

Richard Maffeo said...

All of us can always use reminders. We forget so easily.