A Catholic Monthly Magazine

A Joyful Faith

by Bill Lambert

by Bill Lambert

Some us us tend to look askance at the Pentecostal Christians with all their arm waving, clapping and hallelujahs. It all seems a little too demonstrative. Perhaps religion should be a more solemn business.

But think again. In the Old Testament worship was a joyous thing. In so many of the psalms they are singing and dancing to God, playing on their harps and cymbals. Even the mountains clap their hands in joy.

Shouldn’t we Catholics show more joy that we have the wonderful gift of faith… the sure knowledge that there is a God we can look up to… the surety we are loved and forgiven… the happiness that that envelops us in loving God… and the hope of heaven?

Shouldn’t the central act of our worship – the Mass – reflect more of that joy? How could you drowse your way through Sunday mass if people around you were clapping their hands at the Consecration, and telling Jesus how happy we are to welcome Him?

The Charismatic movement explodes with that joy and praise, but the church hierarchy were suspicious of all that enthusiasm. I think they feared that religious hysteria might take the place of genuine worship. They ignored it and hoped it would go away. And so it has to a large extent

Certainly some folk went a bit overboard, what with being ‘slain in the Spirit’ and prophesying. But there’s no doubt that Charismatic masses are alive with the spirit of faith and joy. I’m sure God thinks they are much more fun.

Instead of dickering around with the words of the liturgy, wouldn’t it be a great idea to learn from our Pentecostal friends and show a bit more joy and enthusiasm? Or at least offer a choice? I’m sure our younger generation who thrive on stimulation would find Sunday mass more of an attraction.

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