Just a taste from an excellent post by Amy Welborn titled It’s not the reverence; It’s the ego:
I’m going to suggest that the core of what drives people crazy (in a bad way) about the celebration of this Mass is the always-present-fear that when you open the door and sit down in that pew, you are never quite sure if what’s about to happen might involve you being subject to surprise attacks and being held hostage by someone’s ego.
You go to Mass with your hopes, joys and fears. You’re there carrying sadness and grief, questions, doubts and gratitude and peace. You’re bringing it all to God in the context of worship, worship that you trust will link you, assuredly to Christ – to Jesus, the Bread of Life, to His redeeming sacrifice. That in this moment, you’ll be joined to the Communion of Saints, you’ll get a taste of the peace that’s promised to the faithful after this strange, frustrating life on earth is over.
And what do you get?
Who knows. From week to week, from place to place, who knows.
Who knows what the personality of the celebrant will impose on the ritual. Will it be jokes? Will it be a 40-minute homily? Will it be meaningful glances and dramatic pauses? Will it be the demand for the congregation to repeat the responses because they weren’t enthusiastic enough?
This puts very succinctly what I have experienced myself when I travelled more widely in parishes in my diocese and to other places. A hesitancy towards what you are about to experience. Almost a relief at the end of Mass to have experienced nothing out of the ordinary at all. A rather miserable way to look at Mass with a complacency to the Mass as being the source and summit of our faith.
Sometimes it seems the message of some priests is contrary to John the Baptist with them indicating “I must increase.” Or you get the feeling that some other person or group have imposed themselves on how Mass is celebrated at that parish.
Amy puts this all and more very well in her post. I really like that her occasional posts on the subject are not part of the liturgy wars trying to contrast one Mass against the other. That they are observations and not mandates about what will fix everything.
What especially struck me when I read this the other day was that earlier the same day I read a section from Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis.
Certainly the ordained minister also acts “in the name of the whole Church, when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the eucharistic sacrifice.”53 As a result, priests should be conscious of the fact that in their ministry they must never put themselves or their personal opinions in first place, but Jesus Christ. Any attempt to make themselves the center of the liturgical action contradicts their very identity as priests. The priest is above all a servant of others, and he must continually work at being a sign pointing to Christ, a docile instrument in the Lord’s hands. This is seen particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical assembly, in obedience to the rite, uniting himself to it in mind and heart, and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality. I encourage the clergy always to see their eucharistic ministry as a humble service offered to Christ and his Church. The priesthood, as Saint Augustine said, is amoris officium,54 it is the office of the good shepherd, who offers his life for his sheep (cf. John 10:14–15).
Plus for the time being I am rather settled in my daily liturgical life where I don’t have that fear that I am going to experience the priest’s ego and not the Logos. So I count myself privileged to be currently in this situation.