Yesterday was the first time I attended a Lifeline at the NET Center. I mostly wanted to go because I wanted to hear Fr. Mike Schmitz who was the speaker yesterday. I do want to point out that I am not someone who particularly likes Praise and Worship music, and I don’t believe it should be present at mass either.
The First Things
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the building was “Wow, it’s really loud. Oh, we’re going to be in a gym.” I have gone to masses in gyms before since when my parish church was renovating, masses were held in the gym. When it was about 5:15 pm, we were able to go in and the people I went to sat nearer to the back of the gym. One thing I was waiting to see was whether we’d kneel during the Eucharistic prayer or not.
We started out with a countdown and then continued with Praise and Worship music. Now this is when I started questioning a few things. First of all, one of the singers from the band said, “Worship is essentially praying and singing together,” which is definitely not true, but I was extremely glad when Fr. Schmitz later emphasized “Worship is about sacrifice.” I also found the song “God’s Great Dance Floor” by Chris Tomlinson to be very strange since I don’t see any theological reasoning behind the song as to why God would have us on his “great dance floor.”
I almost forgot, there was a lip-syncing competition at the introduction. One person lip-synced to Adele “Hello,” and another person did “Drag Me Down,” and let’s just say I didn’t appreciate all the head banging/flipping of the second. Those performances seemed inappropriate to have in front of the altar. We hadn’t even gotten to the mass, yet…
The mass? Actually, I was impressed with certain things. The space between the rows of chair was very limited, so I was unsure if we were going to kneel at all. But after the Sanctus, everyone (except those on the risers) knelt down between the crowded area. We continued kneeling until after the Great Amen, then knelt again after the Agnus Dei. Even after communion, people returned to their seats and knelt again, although some sat when the priest returned to his seat, many still remained kneeling until the priest said, “Let us pray.” I thought of other places where I’ve seen people have much more space between the chairs and wouldn’t kneel, but in this small area, everyone knelt.
Fr. Mike Schmitz was a wonderful celebrant for the mass. His homily connected everything that we heard about and genuinely inspired us all. One of the best parts of his homily for me was when he said that God doesn’t want our 90%, but God wants our last 10% since it’s that last 10% that makes a difference in the world. He had great reverence for the Eucharist and it was shown through the way he celebrated the mass.
Music during the mass was 40% alright for me…there was a chant psalm, and there was another song that I was used to and not too much Praise and Worship. The songs were alright, but the mass parts were something I wanted to complain about. I didn’t like the Gloria, at all. And what is the reason behind “Allelu,” during the Alleluia, I was definitely confused on that since I didn’t think that was correct. The Agnus Dei had some Latin in it, such as “miserere nobis” and “dona nobis pacem,” but that was about all the Latin I heard. The P&W songs that were used were not horrible (as in super upbeat), and there wasn’t any clapping until the closing song.
Then we had the talk, which was honestly my favorite part of last night. I took down a whole page filled with great quotes from Fr. Mike Schmitz. I’ll list a few of my favorites:
God has a vision for your life, for you to become a saint. Nothing more or less than that.
Where you are right now is the result of choices. Who you will be is the result of your choices.
Intensity did not get me here, consistency got me here…consistency will beat intensity every time.
They don’t choose greatness one time, they choose greatness every time.
A small ‘Yes’ today can be a great ‘Yes’ tomorrow.
After his talk, we had adoration. And…it was incredibly hard for me. It was somewhat reverent, but we only had a few minutes of quiet adoration. The deacon processed around with the monstrance and it was the first time I saw people reaching their hand(s) and arms out toward the Blessed Sacrament. When the monstrance was finally on the altar, the band had played multiple songs. I tried praying, but that didn’t work, I tried closing my eyes, but it was still very difficult to pray. I tried listening to God’s voice, but it was extremely hard to do so with the music, even if it was softer. People would get out of their seats and head towards the area closer to the altar and kneel there, while others like myself stayed at our spots kneeling. The only two songs played during that time that I like were “Down in Adoration Falling (Tantum Ergo)” and “Lord, I Need You.”
Although I mostly went to hear Fr. Mike talk, I didn’t think it was a terrible experience. I was especially amazed by the kneeling, since we don’t even do that at my school with more space between the rows of chairs. There’s a sixty percent chance that I’ll go to another Lifeline, and part of the reason of why I would return would be that there was still some reverence in certain parts of it. If anyone wasn’t sure whether to go or not, I’d say go, but just know that there’s a lot, A LOT, of Praise and Worship music.
Feel free to share your own experiences at Lifeline in the comments below! 🙂
~This was originally published on vibrantcatholic.blogspot.com (I’m currently deciding whether to move blogs or not)