I recently read an article by Shawn Tribe about the Liturgical Movement and the Sacrifice of the Mass; it gave me pause to think. Here is how I responded to Shawn;
Wonderful insights! I think that you're spot on with this article...it has provoked a couple of thoughts and a question though....my initial thought is that the Mass is the public prayer of the Church. Insofar as this is the case, every Catholic has a role to play in that prayer. The ministerial priesthood offers the Mass and the faithful come to worship. That is our function. In changing the "understanding" of the priesthood to one where we "offer" the Mass along side the priest, the faithful has lost sight of the true meaning of why they assist at Holy Mass. Your points about catechesis, adoration, and reception are very important. When these actions are put together, they form the basis of the worship of the faithful. I think that the overpaid attention given to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a bane upon the prayer life of the Church. We should not be finding the most satisfaction in adoring the Blessed Sacrament. We should be finding the most satisfaction in assisting at Holy Mass. It is the loss of this principle which I think has done great harm. I'm not saying that we shouldn't spend time in adoration, we most certainly should.
My second thought is this, if Catholics were to return to a more liturgical life, would there be a need for such adoration? I think that looking objectively at the liturgical crisis, the reality is that at every turn Catholics are either being over simplified or eliminated in favor of alternatives to the Mass. You hit upon the idea and I have given this some thought recently (before this article); why wasn't perpetual adoration a primary concern prior to the reforms of the 1960s? And why did it become so after? I think that it is a knee jerk reaction to the utter loss of a liturgical life. And the solution was to take the most important part of the liturgical action and over-emphasize it, by promoting adoration in it's extreme form. My contention is that if a parish has a developed and mature liturgical life, then there is no need for extended adoration, because the Blessed Sacrament is publicly administered, adored and promoted through the every day life of the parish church. This is not to say that adoration doesn't have a place, but rather it is to say that there is not a need for perpetual adoration, or a replacement of the liturgical life with it.
My question is this....if your premise is correct (and I think that it is), how do we, as laymen make this a reality? What can be done to promote proper worship through the liturgical action, as opposed to adoration-as-worship, which is misplaced?
Because the reality is that in even the most orthodox of mainstream parishes, the adoration of the Bleesed Sacrament has usurped the liturgical action as the main mode of "worship." Whenever the question is raised in a parish, "How do we resurrect the life of the parish?" The answer is almost always in some form of promotion of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and not promotion of the Sacred Liturgy.