Jesus told his disciples that he had given them a model to follow. He said,“If you know these things,blessed are you if you do them” (John 13: 17).
The traditional tale of the fall of Satan is that it was due to his refusal to serve: non serviam, “I will not serve,” was the devil’s reply to God.Inflated by pride,he would not obey.Fallen humanity shares this trait, as Jeremiah the prophet says: “For long ago you broke your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not serve’ ” (Jeremiah 2:20).
In opposition to Satan and fallen humanity is Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. We who follow him are “in Christ”and we are to imitate him at the liturgy.If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist we need to start by fostering the attitude of Christ the Servant.
C O U C H P O TAT O C AT H O L I C S ?
It strikes me that at the heart of every problem we experience in the Eucharist today is a fundamental stance of someone who will not serve but wants to be the one served — sort of a couch potato Catholic.
St. Benedict, in his Rule, explains the proper attitude the follower of Christ is to have at prayer: “If we do not venture to approach men who are in power, except with humility and reverence, when we wish to ask a favor, how much must we beseech the Lord God of all things with all humility and purity of devotion? And let us be assured that it is not in many words, but in the purity of heart and tears of compunction that we are heard.”
If someone very important were coming to your house, you would want to make sure that the person was at ease, you would look after his or her comfort, and that person would be the center of your attention until his or her departure. Likewise, if we truly serve God at our celebration of the Eucharist, God will be our focus. Our hearts and minds will be raised to him.
If your role is to preside at the liturgy, you must serve the liturgy faithfully as the Church has handed it down to you. If you are a musician, the music must serve the liturgy, helping all to raise their voices as one to God. If you function as a lector you must proclaim the readings with great care so that all may hear the Word clearly. Every person in the congregation has a role to serve in the Eucharist.