To Worship Fully…in a sense the object of Christian life on earth, in many ways an unattainable objective. But nevertheless, one worth reaching for! God’s infinite presence and goodness is surely deserving of our reverence and adoration, especially as we enter into this season of celebration of the coming of Jesus to earth, and preparation for his return.
For myself, worship is rooted in the prayer of Mass and Adoration (praying before the exposed Eucharist, which Catholics believe is truly the body and blood of Christ). These transcendent moments, which connect me so personally to God and his people, give me a renewed sense of who I am and what my purpose is. I am a child of God whose purpose is to give glory to God in all that I do. Sometimes I am graced with a wonderful sense of the love of God, and leave filled with peace and joy, ready to take on whatever comes next. I have to remind myself that such “good feelings” are not a guarantee however, nor are they requisite to worship.
One of the most dramatic instances in my life of an encounter with Christ through worship took place at World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. This event brings together millions of young Catholics from around the world to celebrate their faith with the current Pope and share in the culture of the host country. A week of festivities and educational sessions concludes with an outdoor, overnight vigil. Our group of seven made the two hour journey from where we were staying, through subways and across hot, dusty ground to join a crowd of excited, sweaty, dehydrated pilgrims on an airfield. We camped out for the day, enjoying the sight of nuns in full habit running after fire trucks for a spray of water to cool off, until the service that night began. It started with a storm, and we tried to stay dry under inflatable rafts we had brought to “sleep” on, but as soon as Pope Benedict XVI brought out the Eucharist for Adoration the weather calmed and the crowd fell silent. Kneeling in the dirt with two million of my closest friends from around the world, joined in worship of the Lord, was incredible to say the least. My mom had been watching coverage of the event on TV and texted me later that night, “I imagine that is what heaven will be like” (maybe, minus the hard ground, cold temperatures, and minimal water/bathroom access we experienced as well that night!). It is remarkable, that we believe in a God who is at once in relationship with every individual on earth, that even in a crowd of two million one can know he or she is loved beyond knowledge– this calls for worship of such a creator, an attempt to communicate that we accept and return (to the best of our ability) that love.
Mass, Adoration, these times of worship give me the fuel to go forth and continue to worship God in my campus, city, and world as he is found in the poor and marginalized, as well as the spiritually impoverished. Worship is a call to come out of myself in reverence for God and his creations, doing everything (as the Jesuits say) “for the greater glory of God.” I can add nothing to God, small as I am, but I can accept his love and share that with all those I meet.
It can be difficult to practically integrate worship into the busyness of daily life, but I have found some of the insights of the author of this blog, theradicallife.org, very helpful. He provides some tangible perspectives and actions to increase the intentionality of how we can spend life for God and for others.
Elizabeth, second from left at world youth day with friends . She is a senior nursing major from Cincinnati. When not in school she loves spending time in the ocean on the Jersey Shore with her 7 younger siblings and doing ballet.