Just got back from 7pm Mass @ St. Mike's. The celebrant was a "redemptorist" who said he goes around and gives parish missions but happens to be living at St. Mike's. The parish missions that I've been to have always been really strong and not harsh, but according to my Dad, they used to be a lot... scarier? in the past - it seemed like their purpose was for some top notch preacher to come in and scare the hell out of you, I guess preaching hell and brimstone at it's finest. This guy gave off a slight tone of that, but much more in his style of speaking more than the actual content. Very dramatic, tense, formal. If you only heard him preaching and didn't hear him talking like that throughout the whole Mass, you'd probably assume that he's got the "holier-than-thou" thing down pat.
As the celebrant finishes the Eucharistic Prayer (I think it's called that), the consecration, he is holding it aloft and we all go through this formal recitation of "Amen" a few times. Scott Hahn explained to me the significance of those Amens, that we are acknowledging for the first time what the bread and wine have just become. Those Amens tell me that the deed has been done. Usually the priest holds them aloft for a few seconds, and then we proceed into the Amens, spoken or sung depending on what kinda musical capabilities are available. I was at a "contemporary" Mass where there was a full music team, so we sing something pretty colorful for more than a few seconds. Well this redemptorist dude decided he was gonna hold up the body and blood for the entire song-thingy. The meaning behind it struck me, that he was truly acknowledging the purpose of the Amens. So what's my point? Well there's always this on-going debating about contemporary Masses losing meaning, one symptom being that the music team kinda loses focus on what we're really here for. The music is a form of prayer to bring us into deeper worship, not just a musical performance like a concert. So these Amens lasted pretty long, but that priest held up his arms - reminiscent of Moses doing his thing w/ Aaron's help - for the entire thing.
Over and out.
(ps - I've been meaning to post an update for some time now... there's so much going on that I don't even know where to start. So, I just haven't started! Maybe later this week.)