From a treatise on the Lord's Prayer by Saint Cyprian, bishop and
When we pray, our words should be calm, modest and disciplined. Let us reflect that we are standing before God. We should please him both by our bodily posture and the manner of our speech. It is characteristic of the vulgar to shout and make a noise, not those who are modest. On the contrary, they should employ a quiet tone in their prayer.
Moreover, in the course of his teaching, the Lord instructed us
to pray in secret. Hidden and secluded places, even our own rooms, give witness to our believe that God is present everywhere; that he sees and hears all; that in the fullness of his majesty, he penetrates hidden and secret places.
...For God hears our heart not our voice. He sees our thoughts;
he is not to be shouted at.
A few years ago, subsequent to attending a Life in the Spirit seminar (about 4 months subsequent), I began to attend the Charismatic group's prayer meetings, which I continued to do for about six months or so, I think. Maybe a bit longer. I never felt it was truly "my place", but at the time, it felt like I needed to be there for some reason. But over time I just stopped going; a need, whatever it was, had been filled.
The people were wonderful, most attended Daily Mass and I would see them in our Adoration chapel from time to time. It was and remains a good group of faithful Catholics. God bless them!
However, I continued to have an extreme discomfort with their style of worship. Charismatic Masses made me cringe, even as I tried not to. I didn't like having a band performing at Mass, I felt it was an abuse for people to be praying in tongues at the Elevation, and I've NEVER been given to waving my hands in the air - except in law enforcement training when I was the suspect.
But I sincerely tried out this particular spirituality. At the time, I worked into the evening so usually missed the first half hour of the meeting, which was just fine...because it was "praise and worship", which meant..yup...hand-waving, singing in tongues, etc. It all seemed so "1970's" to me, and I preferred, if I had the time, to spend it in the chapel in silence. I NEEDED that silence, and it was in that silence that the Lord spoke to me and I to Him. After a stressful day at work in a job I hated, I needed silence, not more noise.
Yes, I enjoy Contemporary Christian music and listen to it all the time. But my form of "praise and worship" actually resembles the description given by St. Cyprian above, as opposed to the innovations of the CCR and Protestant forms of worship.
I am NOT slamming the Catholic Charismatic Renewal! I'm only saying that it wasn't for me; it wasn't my style of worship and never would be. And perhaps that's why I was drawn to the group; to reveal to me what I was and what I was NOT called to do.
I have had some people suggest to me that God pushes us out of our comfort zone and maybe I'm supposed to be a Charismatic. I disagree; God does force us outside of our boxes, but that doesn't mean we are to constantly experience spiritual discomfort. What was I doing in a loud prayer meeting when I desperately needed to be silent at the feet of Jesus in the Adoration chapel? I can't enter into true prayer after a bunch of songs. I have learned through experience that the only way for me to really encounter God and enter into a conversation with Him is through being quiet. Even in Adoration, often that conversation can't even begin until my hour is nearly up.
On one occasion, when one of the people in the prayer group asked me why I was always late, I explained that before I came, I was spending time in the chapel with Jesus. That person asked me, "Don't you think Jesus would want you to be here with us praising and worshiping him?"
I wish I'd had a copy of St. Cyprian's treatise to hand that individual. What I was doing WAS praising and worshiping Jesus. Every time we act in accordance with God's will for us, it is an act of praise and worship.
Somehow, people have gotten the idea that "Praise and Worship" means screaming (sometimes) bad music at the top of one's lungs while waving one's hands in the air and speaking in babble. And for some people...well, maybe that's what God wants them to do. But that doesn't apply to all of us. Clearly, the Church Fathers would have something to say about the true meaning of praise and worship, and how it originates from within, from that interior connection to God. And St. Cyprian did say that very thing, using David and his psalms as an example.
Prayer doesn't have to be noisy. It shouldn't be noisy, as far as I'm concerned. We're standing before GOD...my guess is that if we TRULY realized what happens at the consecration, we'd all fall prone to the floor, in an awed silence.
Only a fool breaks the silence in the presence of a King. We are all fools...every one of us. We can't comprehend what is before us and Whose presence we are in. We have only a tenuous grasp on this mystery, even if we can argue and explain the theology. If we TRULY understood....
Please don't fill my combox with a defense of the CCR. I'm not attacking it. I'm only explaining my own spirituality, towards the silent, ordered, and contemplative versus the charismatic style of vocal prayer.
To each their own, and the Church is big enough to hold us all. But give me a few minutes in the chapel any day with Jesus and spare me from the contemporary definition of "praise and worship."