Monday, July 5, 2010

In Defense of SPOOKS

My friend has a particular dislike, of what she disdainly refers to as SPOOKS.  (Spiritual, Pious, Observance Of the King)  IOW, people that practice devotions.  She says that the Mass is enough.  She also prays the Liturgy of the Hours, daily, and does a lot of meditation.  Praiseworthy, to be sure, but others love other devotions.

I'm specifically referring to people in prayer groups, Divine Mercy, First Saturdays, Rosary groups, Eucharistic Adoration, etc.  Actually, she's thinking of those types of devotions.  People that wear crosses larger than the Pope's, "scare her," she says.  These spiritual, pious, observance of the King types, make her uneasy.

Why?  I think because she's just not that type.  Notice, her preference for devotions: LOH, meditation--all done alone.  Whereas most of the others are in a group setting.  These pious people, that she makes fun of, are the very people who are praying for her, and the parish.  Their prayers, and sacrifices are what sustain the Church.  Actually, they are united in their little communities with obvious love, and with courage to face up to those who denigrate them and their little groups.  Some may seem eccentric.  What of it?  One would have to be different to face up to the challenge of being counter cultural in today's world.  These SPOOKS are faithful, traditional, holy, and may seem out of step with the current thought, but are the very backbone of all parishes.  Remember the types of people Jesus called to be his first disciples.

Dissing the prayer group types is unworthy of any Catholic.  These small devotions are a consistent and powerful ministry to those involved.  They are humble people who probably find no stimulation in theological disputations.  They express their faith in ways they can relate to, in specific environments, that enhance their spiritual journeys.  Their pious expressions are not at odds with Sacred Liturgy.  Rather, their devotions promote the faith of the people.  The devotions predispose the people to the celebration of the Eucharist.

The SPOOKS should be regarded as a treasure in any parish.  They offer their time, sacrifices, and prayers, for the people, the parish, the diocese, the Church, and the world.  Their devotions are testimonies of faith.  Devotions generate interior attitudes, i.e., patience, awareness of the Cross in everyday life, detachment, and piety.

My friend may criticize the repetitive nature of their prayer life.  That may not be her cup of tea, but even "repetition" is helpful.  Private contemplation and humility are important, but communal prayer, like a litany are important, also.  Does anyone ever get tired of hearing "I love you?"

Litanies, Chaplets, Rosary, rote prayers are a form of "I love you."  These ritual like prayers are a form of love. They offer an ordered procedure of worship.  They specifically express devotion.  These type of prayers develop a social discipline, and a way of worship when done in a group.  And don't forget the indulgence these people can attain satisfaction from.

Besides what harm do they do?  None.  Whatsoever!  These people, these SPOOKS bother you?  Get over it.  You are benefiting from their prayers.

At least, we can all agree on the Mass.  Nothing beats the Sacred Liturgy.  That's the best.  And I contend that the devotions the SPOOKS are dedicated to, enhance their experience of the Eucharist.  Their prayers are directed to the Sacred Liturgy.  Devotional piety offers a way to dialogue with God, through Christ in the Mass.  The celebration of the Liturgy does not exhaust the Church's worship.  Devotions are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And as such, worthy to be used by these SPOOKS, who are the humble, and so docile to Magisterium.

May God bless them.

* Reference: Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Dec. 2001 -- Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

2 comments:

Marie Cecile said...

Now that I have read it I understand what you were talking about in the comment you left me on my blog. Sad to say, I have been lagging in my reading. Please forgive me for the oversight.

Faith said...

I can't keep up with reading my favorite blogs either.
Re: my pastor and friend who aren't into devotions. At first, they made me feel ashamed because I belonged to many devotional groups. I was even ashamed to be associated with such people and groups. But I prayed about it and talked it over with people I respect, (since I don't have a spiritual director anymore), and I've come to the same conclusion you did. People who denigrate pious people don't have a healthy prayer life, themselves. Or they wouldn't be so judgmental.