February 25, 2007

Derek Carr - “Prayer from a Catholic perspective”

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Derek Carr, professor of medieval Spanish studies at UBC, spoke to us on prayer from the Catholic perspective. Derek reviewed the central ritual of the Mass, its history (etymology known, meaning unknown), and then walked us through the parts of the Mass in a format that has not changed significantly in hundreds of years. Scripture and hymns begin the Mass, and prayers follow - for world religions and Christian churches, then for political leaders and war-torn countries, for significant national issues, then prayers for the sick and for the dead. The homily is offered by the priest, the offertory (ritual washing) follows, and then the canon of the Mass in preparation for the communion rite. At last, communion is served, before the congregation is dismissed. Derek then contrasted this form of prayer with those of the more devoted in monasteries and intentional communities, called ‘canonical hours’. These are names we may recall from literature or performance and are associated with specific hours of the day, such as Matins, Lauds, Vespers and Compline, performed in among the workaday duties each member of the community may have had. Then Derek introduced us to the Rosary, common for both private prayer for people who used chains of beads organized in decades’ to recall their prayers, and for public prayer that enmeshes participants in a rolling rhythm that enables closer access to the divine. Last, Derek touched on the way of the mystic, a tradition of much suspicion among churches through the ages for its frequent encroachment from states of personal abnegation and spiritual freedom onto canonical heresy. In practice, Derek noted private prayer is something he finds difficult, and public or written prayer is inherently unsatisfying. Derek nevertheless finds access to the divine in Nature, especially under the night sky, and encourages us to do the same. [AP]


Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event: Lent I
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Derek Carr
Worship Leader: Evan Kreider
Song Leader: Ann Marie Neudorf
Pianist: J Evan Kreider
Usher: Hilda Unger
Zoom Coordinator:
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