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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ministry Fair and Discernment to everyday stuff

Today was my parish's annual Ministry Fair, where nearly 100 possible ministries within the parish are showcased and presented for info and signup.

I'm already a member of the Frassati Society. Check.

I've gone to the Charismatic Prayer Group several times after last lent's Life in the Spirit Seminar, and spoke at another seminar last summer for that group. But although my experience with the CCR (Catholic Charismatic Renewal) was a positive one, it is not my spirituality. Maybe more on that in another post. But in any case, I do love the people who are involved. They are wonderful, loving people, and I was never once pressured to speak in tongues.

What I am agonizing over is the desire to teach, but there was no one seemingly available at the "education" tables, and I didn't feel very drawn to them today.

I did reveal to a friend, as I have before, that I am interested in the parish Commission, and this year my work schedule would permit my involvement.

But one point of agony...I love to sing. A woman once told me during the sign of peace that I have a wonderful voice. I thanked her and wished her peace and tried to still the longing in my heart.

They have often appealed for good singers, but I don't feel called anyomre. Yet I do.

Let me tell you yet another long-winded story, for those are my specialty. It's part of my endearing charm. Or something like that. "Endearing" and "charm" can be substituted for your own personal judgment.

I was involved in music ministry from a young age...always loved music, used to make up songs and sing them to my Dad, especially. They were mostly tuneless little-girl songs, but they apparently warmed his heart. I was fascinated by the various music groups at our little parish and Mom always made it a point to encourage our interest in music.

Fast forward to elementary school. I was 11. We lived in Faribault, MN, and somehow they arranged for me to play my flute during the Christmas program before the 5 pm Mass. I remember the "audition" and being happy to be there.

Then Christmas Eve arrived, I calmly walked forward when it was time, not a bit nervous. I turned around, saw how full the Church was...and I began shaking. I raised my flute, the pianist began the lead-in, but no sound came out of my flute. She looked at me and started again, and this time, by the grace of God, sound came out and I played, shaking so hard I created a wonderful vibrato.

In Jr. High I learned that I could actually sing, and got involved in the youth choir and shortly after, the adult choir. By then I was playing my flute with the choir from time to time, on some Sundays and during holidays.

My best friend and I joined the choir and also began singing with the cantors. Many of them were happy to have assistance up front, so we were always welcomed. I always brought my flute just in case it was needed.

One Christmas, I showed up for the 8:30 am Mass with my flute and sang with the cantor (who happened to be both the Director of Liturgical Music AND my sometimes private flute teacher when Mom could afford it). A little before Communion, she saw that there were not enough Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, handed me the songbook, and told me to lead the parish in singing.

I stood staring at the book, shocked.

The song was "What Child is This?", the accompaniast and I looked at each other, shrugged, and when the time came, I sang. I could hear my own voice through the mike, and tried not to listen to it.

I continued to sing and fill in as a substitute. That summer, I was on the schedule a lot, especially with all the vacations of the regular cantors.

It wasn't long before I was just placed on the list.

Now I am torn. I am a member of a large parish, and the choir's OK, although the Director does chose a lot of completely dischordant and unsingable music. The choir processes in with the priest when they sing, and that drives me crazy. The Cantor does not stand with the choir, but walks behind the altar over to the lector's stand and sings from there.

I don't like these things. I understand some of the reasoning behind it, I just disagree with it.

And I don't want to be a part of that.

The Cantors at the masses were the choir does not sing have a more informal place, and sing at the regular mike by the choir loft to the left of the altar, so I'd be more comfortable with that...but I'm not sure I want to lead singing at all anymore.

I will say I've been tempted to grab the microphone from some cantors, but let's not go there. We all have those stories.

I'm not a good singer anymore, anyway, just a passable one.

But I can't stop wondering if I'm supposed to be up there singing, anyway?

What in the WORLD does God want me to do?

Does anyone else agnoize about these things?


Anonymous said...

I think it's funny when people come to a Charismatic group and treat it likes it's just another flavor of ice cream and decide they will stay or go depending on how comfortable they feel. I say this because of the comment, "it is not my spirituality" that was made.

Does everyone have their own spirituality (or religion?) Do our personal preferences for comfort dictate what is the truth?

The Charismatics are about doing the things that church has forgotten to do for centuries (except for the random reclusive monk or saint) and that is to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to share them with the rest of the body of Christ. The only times I have seen people NOT recieve a gift from the 'Life in the Spirit" seminar is because they doubted it to begin with and not everyone gets the gift of tongues, which is the lowest gift. THE LOWEST. Some people get other gifts like the gift of encouragement or evangelisation or whatever. If you don't believe it, don't expect to recieve it.

If you study the bible, we are supposed to pursue the gifts for the purpose of helping the body and the Kingdom. Jesus was God made man but he taught us to pray and rely on the Holy Spirit. From the bible, teachers and my own experience, without the Holy Spirit we lack the power to evangelise other people. In other words we need the Gifts to be effective for Christ.


Adoro Te Devote said...

I think you have jumped to conclusions, my friend. There are many types of spirituality in the Franciscan, Carmelite, Augustinian, etc. Just because I have found that the Charismatic type of spirituality is not for me does not mean that I did not recieve gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have claimed no such thing. You have drawn a conclusion which simply is not there.

What I stated was that the Charismatic movement is not for me. I learned from it, I attended SEVERAL meetings, apx 6 months worth, and I decided that their style of worship is not fitting for me. I am more contemplative and prefer to be quiet in God's presence before the blessed sacrament, rather than singing off-key Protestant spirituals in a back room.
That's my experience and my opinion. You are entitled to your own.

Adoro Te Devote said...


I was not able to respond in full to your comment as I was at work, but I do want to address what you said.

First of all, you took my brief comment "This is not my spirituality" and went off on a rant which had nothing to do with what I said. Yet you have a point in that there are SOME people who do fit your description.

I am actually going to post about my experience in the CCR because it is valid; it is just not for me. I may quote some of what you commented just for ease of response and to help identify the points. I look forward to a fruitful discussion!

God bless you,