Monday, April 02, 2007

why prayer is not acting

Karol Józef Wojtyła was a great actor. In his homeland of Poland, he used drama, banned by the communists, to express his frustration with the oppressive Russian regime. By all accounts, he was a very animated actor. In fact, when Karol became Pope John Paul II he was known for two things. He was extremely outgoing in his evangelical/pastoral visits and in his World Youth Days. The famous scene of John Paul and the hockey stick is still remembered. But, when it came to prayer, he was extremely un-animated. He could have African dancers in procession but, at the heart of the prayer, it was always reverent. That's because the Pope understood that, while anything can lead us to prayer, fundamentally prayer is a movement of the heart accomplished by God best done in silent reverance. The more we try to add the more sloppy it gets and the more it deals with us praising ourselves and less about connecting with the God who calls us to be his people. I struggle with this during the reading of the passion. I'm a pretty animated person. I think that it's expected in a college atmosphere. But, am I really helping my parishioners connect to God or just to think that I'm a good singer/reader? How am I emptying myself so that Christ can fill me up?

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