Early in my spiritual life i came to an understand that rituals were an unnecessary and even negative thing. Something the Catholics and other people who didn’t have a real faith participated in. Things have changed…
#1. I’m an Anglican. And i’ve been reading A LOT of Catholics guys lately. Not quite Anglo-Catholic but ya never know.
So yea, rituals have become a big part of my life of faith. I really value them and see the beauty in their rhythm. So i apologize to my Catholics friends i either doubted and demeaned or attempted to convert when i was in High School. Sean, you specifically come to mind.
Now a lot of my evangelical friends might want me to explain this a bit more. I could give lengthy theological banter here but instead i’ll show you a picture and say a few things.
#2. I’m a dad and this is my son Jack! Just about every Saturday we go on an adventure. This includes many different things that Jack is fond of; car washes, parks, finding big machines (backhoes, bulldozers, and the like), going to the mall so we can walk up and down every escalator in the place and play in the lego store, finding water fountain to play in. AND always, ALWAYS going to Starbucks to get some chocolate milk!
Our Saturday adventures are our father & son ritual. At least for me it’s a really deep and meaningful time for me to connect with my son and experience life and love with him. There might be times when he is over it and thinks our Saturdays are lame or times when he thinks there are better things that could be done with his Saturday mornings but i will always be here for him, waiting and wanting our lives to intentionally intersect, for us to have a beautiful rhythm that we share, a ritual that is ours. It’s still hard to explain but it makes more sense to me when i think of our Sat. AM ritual as the center of our ever evolving relationship.
My relationship with God is also ever evolving. Sometime it feels as if it evolving in negative ways but if St. John of the Cross is right and the Dark Night of the Soul is God’s way of purifying us for our journey into perfection then maybe even when it feel as if God is distant and your spiritual life is dry, when you feel like you could be doing something better with your Sunday mornings… maybe it’s then, especially then when the eucharist needs to be participated in and the Word needs to be heard and the prayers of the people need to be said. Ritualistic. Absolutely. Because maybe there are times when that is exactly what we need, a good ritual.
There are very few Saturday’s, actually i’m not sure there has been one yet, when i don’t think about my own father and all he missed out on because he wasn’t around. And i think about how badly i want to be there for my son and how badly i want him to know that i love him. That’s another thing that’s hard to explain. Growing up without a dad feels like i never learned this particular language and now i am learning it by inhabiting the land of fatherhood. It’s a foreign language but one i think i am picking up pretty fast and one that feel as though i was born to know, i think we were all born to know the language of love, especially as communicated to us by our mothers and fathers.
Here’s to living a life of ritual and rhythm. Because maybe it’s exactly what we need.