i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Learnin' Liturgy

September 08, 2005

Before today's Opening Litury, I had never once attended a Catholic church service. I've attended Protestant services, a few Baptist services (and, whew, the fire and brimstone thing is so true!), a non-denominational service, and even a few pagan rituals... but never Catholic*. It was... interesting. I mean, what more to say? It was pretty much exactly what I expected, though not nearly as long and boring as I had imagined (abbreviated due to time constraints perhaps?).

I did, however, enjoy Father Stephen Honeygosky's homily. I wasn't sure what to think as he started off by reversing to, strangely, a Comcast commercial, making a comment about the main person not likely to be on "Desperate Housewives" anytime soon. When he said "dude", I thought, "Oh man! What is this?!?"

But then, to my great suprise, he started talking about the benefits of close reading! As a creative writing, er, literature, er, creative literature major??? this was bound to capture my attention. He spoke about how any artists' intent to move us or change our opinions from point A to point B (or beyond). I liked that.

He also discussed some of the shortcoming in Catholicism and other religions in seeking for "where god lives" versus "where's god." - an interesting idea of where true religious impulse occurs. I thought it was admirable for him to admit that religion has made mistakes and has "room to grow." He discussed the idea of faith being equal to free will, in that faith is a truly free enterprise: you can't force anyone to believe anything.

He also talked about the benefits of interreligious dialog(ue) as being something beneficial in order to explore higher spiritual truths. I have always believed that all religions have something valuable to say about life and liked that he mentioned that idea as well. I've always thought of truth as a shining silver thread, woven between all religions: if you seek it, you will find truth.

Fr. Honeygosky really won me over when he quoted Shakespeare's Juliet speaking of love, "The more I give to thee, the more I have to give." That's a great line and it's so true of love: most religions agree with the idea that sending love out into the world succeeds in bringing love back to you. From my own life and my own spiritual explorations, I have certainly found this to be true. Very cool.

I'm not necessarily in a hurry to go to church again (maybe Easter midnight mass, which I am informed, includes incense, candles and lights off... rock on!) I am, however, glad for the chance to expand my mind. I went by my own free will, no one required that I go, and what I took from the service was what I chose to allow inside my mind. Blessed be.

* Actually, I forgot, I did sit in on a service in Notre Dame in Paris, it was just the tail end and it was in French so it hardly counts, does it? ;c)

Moira at 12:33 PM :: Comments (10) :: ę :: Ľ

When he said "dude" was was like, "woah..."


Anyway, you should expect to see more literary references from Fr. Honeygosky because he's an English professor :-) Fabulous, isn't it? And not being a Catholic, myself, I noted that the SHU services somehow go against stereotypical views of the liturgies--but then again, we Lutherans sing all the verses in all the songs, too...

Posted by: Karissa at September 8, 2005 03:26 PM

Excellent reflection on the experience -- I shared a lot of the same feelings about the "literary" approach of the homily! I was very happy and very impressed with Dr. Honeygosky's service. We're lucky to have him at SHU!

Posted by: Mike Arnzen at September 8, 2005 04:47 PM

I've had a number of enjoyable conversations with Fr. Honeygosky about teaching, literature, and SHU culture. He has a half-time appointment as an English faculty member.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 8, 2005 05:23 PM

I'm definitely impressed! Any Father's who's quoting Shakespeare has my attention! ;c)

Posted by: moira at September 9, 2005 10:48 AM

It was my first mass as well. I felt rather out of place. Iíve never even had a religion class, and the only nun Iíve ever seen was in Blues Brothers.

Btw, is it just me or does Pope Benedict look eerily like Emperor Palpatine?

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at September 9, 2005 03:56 PM

Amen sista. Blessed be.

Posted by: Neha at September 10, 2005 03:39 PM

Kayla - it was definitely a unique experience... but unique is practically my middle name (it's Anne, really, but close enough!). Go Blues Brothers. ;c)

Posted by: moira at September 12, 2005 04:11 PM

I gotta agree Moira, Fr. Honeygosky is a great addition to the Seton Hill community, not only because of his literary background, but because he is obviouly a wonderful musician. It's great to listen to a priest wwo can sing!

Posted by: Liz Schomer at September 12, 2005 08:08 PM

Yes, he was great at singing, wasn't it? And hello! It's been years! How are you???

Posted by: moira at September 14, 2005 01:19 PM

Moira, i'm great! I was surprised to come across the like to you blog on Lou's. It has been years! You'll have to let me know how your family is.

Posted by: Liz Schomer at September 15, 2005 11:24 AM
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