Bishop Fliss accepted my request to become a priest and assigned me to attend Sacred Heart School of Theology in Milwaukee. I entered the seminary in September 2005. It was a three-year program and I graduated with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. We had a graduation ceremony much like any other graduate school. There was one exception. Each graduate was to select a Bible verse that best represented themselves, or their life, or other important aspect of their life.
The verse I chose was from the Old Testament reading today. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Not that I could do that then, nor can I say, I can do that now, but it is what I want to do. I would need to find a way to order my life to be able to live up to this Bible verse. I looked at various programs and tried several, but nothing really seemed to be right for me. I went back to the Bible verse I selected and read a little more from the Bible. That is when God told me how I was to love Him. It is through the liturgy of the Mass. Not for one hour a week, but to make the liturgy of the Mass my life for every day and every hour of the day. How can you do that? Because it is how God directed us to worship and praise Him.
Let me give you an example. When I say the word liturgy a mental image comes to mind. And you are probably thinking of the one-hour Mass on the weekend. But there are many kinds of liturgy. Some you practice today without even thinking about it. Here is one kind of liturgy many people practice this time of year. It is the liturgy of major league football.
I often wonder if football organizers did not read the Bible to set up the liturgy of football. For example, good liturgy means you plan to have your events at the same time each week. Everyone knows football is on Sunday at noon, 3, and about 7:30. They even have holy days of obligation such as Monday night football and Thursday night football. Major league football has prophets telling you about the upcoming game, why a particular team will win. Some of their prophets will even tell you the final score before they play the game. During the rest of the week, there are news updates on the teams and players to prepare you for next Sunday. Commercials remind you to pick up snacks and beer. Commercials also tell you to call your friends to get together for the parties before the game, during the game, and after the game. You even must wear appropriate colors. You must have your team vestments on that day of the game. All of this for a football game, obviously liturgy of football is full of rules and is complicated.
There are other liturgies of life. Liturgy of work, you have hours to work, days on which you work, places to work, work vestments, and so on. There is the liturgy of hunting. The color orange comes to mind right away. The ritual of cleaning the sacred vessels as you do not want a dirty gun or a bow that is not operational.
With all these other liturgies we live by today, how does the liturgy from God fit into your life? As a priest I wear black vestments and a collar every day. It reminds me that God works through me and I work for God. I carry my Rosary in my pocket as a constant reminder to pray. I pray the liturgy of hours at specific times each day. First thing in the morning I reach for my phone to say specific prayers to begin the day for God. I close every day with an Act of Contrition. I offer a blessing before meals. If you were to stop and think about it, I believe there are many times during the day you think of God but are not even aware of those times.
We all have liturgies in our lives. The question is which liturgy is most important to you? Upon which liturgy do you spend your time?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen