Sunday, February 7, 2016

To Worship In Spirit And Truth

John 4:23-24   Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

When Jesus spoke those words, He was not referring to the Traditional Latin Liturgy or any liturgy for that matter  He was not saying anything about communion rails or whether the altar servers should be male or female. 

To worship in spirit and truth is to live out our faith.  It is to live out our baptismal promises and continually be renewed throughout our life through prayer, participation in the Sacraments of the Church, and service to others.  When our worship of God is grounded in Spirit and Truth, our daily life begins to change because WE are being changed from the inside out.  Changing the face of the altar by having communion rails, banning girls from being altar servers, and placing the tabernacle in the center does not change people.  True  Catholicism teaches that only the grace of God can change people.

The words "worship in Spirit and Truth" comes from the Gospel of John.  In this historical story, Jesus breaks the Jewish custom of speaking to the Samaritan woman.  As their conversation unfolds, the Samaritan woman tries to distract Jesus by making a reference to the existing rivalry among those who worship on the mountain, Gerizim, in Samaria, and those who worship in the temple in Jerusalem.  However, Jesus was more interested in bringing the woman to conversion rather than entering a debate about WHERE God should be worshipped.  He cuts through her diversion with the following (the bold is mine): 
"Believe me,woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You people worship what you do not understand: we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth."  
From this story, we learned that some people become so caught up in the logistics of worship that they miss the experience of being in communion with the One they came to worship.  Like the Samaritan woman, they were more concern as to WHERE one should worship, where the tabernacle should be, where the flowers should be, where the crucifix should be, where the candles should be, etc.  Jesus taught that true worship cannot be limited to certain conditions or places, be it Jerusalem (as the Jews believed) or Mount Gerizim (as the Samaritans believed) or even in the church building (as some Traditional Latin Catholics believed).

The "Spirit" in Jesus' reference is the Spirit given by God who reveals truth and moves one to worship God in truth and charity.  To worship in spirit and truth in the Mass means to be guided by the Spirit who enables us to actively participate and to be fully attentive and consciously present to Christ the High Priest who is present to us in the gathered assembly, in the person of the priest presider, in the Word proclaimed and uniquely and substantially in the Eucharistic elements of Bread and Wine  This is why in the Way, we often begin our celebration by telling the brothers to leave whatever problems they have outside and to be fully attentive and participate in the celebration. So, are we a people who worship God in spirit and truth or are we a people who constantly complain and grumble about everything?  It is only when our hearts and minds are open to God's love and grace that we can ever hope to worship God in Spirit and in truth.    


  1. So, you are saying that the Church is wrong when it regulates the liturgy and sets down liturgical laws.

    Well, that settles the question as to whether you are Catholic or not.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 11:22 pm,

      I am saying that "Love" is more important than liturgy because God is love. Pope Francis said that if the liturgy cannot lead you to Christ, then the liturgy is useless and dead. I agree with Pope Francis, and that shows that I am Catholic.

    2. Anon. 11:22pm, what in Diana's post do you disagree with? Rather than bashing Diana, let's discuss what she posted about worshipping in spirit and truth.

    3. Dear Anon at 11.52. What I disagree with is that Diana sets up a false dichotomy (yet again) in the tradition of the false dichotomies of the NCW.

      Of course, there is no contradiction between true worship and the Church's insistence that the liturgy be regulated as something received rather than something constructed.

      The purpose of Diana's post is to call into question the traditions of the Church (altar rails, altar servers etc) as though they are not belonging to "worship in Spirit and truth".

      This is typical of the arrogance of the NCW, which believes they are entitled to mess around with the Mass and to do novel and unauthorised acts therein.

    4. Dear Anonymous at 10:35 am,

      On the contrary, the arrogance was coming from those who wants to FORCE all Catholics to change the face of the altar by putting in the communion rails, banning all female altar servers, etc. The NCW accepts all Catholic Churches regardless of whether they have communion rails or not.

      The purpose of my post is to recall the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. To worship God means to adore God. Worships means adore. We are to adore God, not the communion rails. You forget that Christ did not build a building. The Church He built is an assembly of people, not a building.

      But it is NOT the NCW who is telling people to put back the communion rails. It has always been the jungle who tell others that communion rails should be returned, and that the way they celebrate in the regular Mass is wrong. It is not just the NCW they attack. They also attack the celebration of the regular parish Mass.

    5. But isn't NCW the only one not having female altar servers and lay ministers.

    6. Dear Anonymous at 12:17 pm,

      The Traditional Latin Mass also do not have female altar servers and lay ministers.

    7. Why does NCW not have female altar servers and lay ministers. Don't you think it is strange?
      The Traditional Latin Mass, one can understand. But NCW? Even Jesus had women serving during the last Supper.

    8. Dear Anonymous at 8:31 am,

      If you can understand the Traditional Latin Mass as to why they do not have any female altar servers, then you should be able to understand the NCW for the same reason. And for your information, Jesus did not have any women serving during the Last Supper.

    9. i know NCW does not look kindly on women, heads of catechist team are always men or couple, lay ministers, men, first responsible men (couple), itinerants, men are in charge.
      And yes, there were women during the last supper, it was a meal and women played a very important role in preparation.

    10. Dear Anonymous at 5:27 pm,

      You are incorrect. There are women (such as Pat) who are head Catechist. Carmen Hernandez is also one of the International Catechist team with Kiko Arguello. There are female Responsibles and itinerants in the Way.

      And for your information, there were no women who prepared the Last Supper meal, which Jesus shared with His Apostles. Peter and John were the ones who prepared the Last Supper meal (see Luke 22:8).

  2. Just agreeing with the Pope doesn't make you Catholic. LGBTQ groups agree with the Pope as well as PETA, but these groups are far from being Catholic. In fact, many are downright anti-Catholic.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 12:52 am,

      The LGBTQ do NOT agree with the Pope. They like him because Pope Francis did not judge them, but they were never in communion with the pope. They disagree with the pope who follows the teachings of the church in regards to their lifestyle.

  3. Kung Hei Fat Choi Diana.
    Diana may I befriend you on Facebook.
    I want to consider joining NCW.
    Thank you.
    Ed Chan.

    1. Dear Ed Chan,

      If you are in China, there is an NCW in Hong Kong.

    2. Dear Ed Chan, may I humbly suggest you join the Catholic Church instead? There are plenty of authentic charisms and spiritual realities in the Church that do not seek to create a new Church, like the NCW does.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 12:37 pm,

      If Ed Chan chooses to join the NCW, that is his choice to make. And the NCW is not a separate church. It is Catholic. We have the support and endorsement of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.

  4. Dear Diana, (CAPS are my own)

    The following from Cardinal Sarah, whom Pope Francis made Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2014.

    L'Osservatore Romano
    June 12, 2015
    [Excerpts from the Exclusive Rorate translation by Contributor Francesca Romana]

    "Fifty years after its promulgation by Pope Paul VI will the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council be read? “Sacrosanctum concilium “ is not de facto a simple catalogue of reform “recipes” but a real “magna carta” of EVERY liturgical action.

    With it, the ecumenical council gives us a magisterial lesson in method. Indeed, far from being content with a disciplinary and exterior approach, the council wants to make us reflect on what the liturgy is in its essence. The practice of the Church always comes from what She receives and contemplates in REVELATION. Pastoral care cannot be disconnected from doctrine."

    "....It (the reading of S.C.) must stop being a place of disobedience to the prescriptions of the Church.

    More specifically, it cannot be an occasion of laceration among Catholics. The dialectic readings of "Sacrosanctum Concilium" i.e. the hermeneutics of rupture in one sense or another ARE NOT THE FRUIT OF A SPIRIT OF FAITH. The Council did not want to break with the liturgical forms inherited from Tradition, rather it wanted to deepen them. The Constitution establishes that "any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically, from forms already existing." (n.23)

    The Neocatechumenal Way's Mass started out with many alterations not approved by Rome. Some have been corrected, but many have not. Again, "the hermeneutics of rupture in one sense or another ARE NOT THE FRUIT OF A SPIRIT OF FAITH."

    1. Dear Anonymous at 12:40 am,

      The NCW has the permission from the Vatican to celebrate the Eucharist the way they do. The fact that you do not believe that is not my problem. Write your letter of complaint to the Vatican and make sure to tell them to discipline the NCW into compliance.

  5. Why do you want to take the seminary away from the seminarians? It belongs to them and those who provide education for the future priests. By juridical language: it belongs to the Archdiocese of Agana and the owner is the Archbishop. That is all laid down in the appropriate documents.

    It does not matter how much Tim Rohr is talking about the seminary, it remains an institution for priestly education that won't ever change! Period. The subtleties of juridical language might be read by lawyers because of their profession, but lay people just don't care much about that. All they care about is that the seminary is in good hands, contributing to the better service of the Catholic people of Guam. What is your concern beyond that?

    If you really want to help the situation, stop complaining. You should applaud those who choose religious life and enter the seminary. Support their vocations. It is only fair that the faithful contributes to the expenses because the utility costs are running high.

  6. Ignatius of Antioch lived and wrote from about 35 to 107AD. Ignatius was a disciple and student of St. John the apostle. The St. John who was the author of many important bits of the New Testament, including one of the Gospel accounts and the Book of REVELATION. Ignatius was taught by John who learned directly from Jesus.

    St.Ignatius writes:

    "Make no mistake, my brothers, if anyone joins a schismatic he will not inherit God’s Kingdom. If anyone walks in the way of heresy, he is out of sympathy with the Passion. BE CAREFUL, then, to observe a single Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and one cup of his blood that makes us one, and one altar, just as there is one bishop along with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow slaves. In that way whatever you do is in line with God’s will."

    Dear Diana, re your "Write your letter of complaint to the Vatican and make sure to tell them to discipline the NCW into compliance." WHY do you see that as necessary, when in 2012, 7000 NCW members WENT to Rome DEFINITELY expecting the written permission for the alterations to their Mass, and left without it? This after telling all members that permission was ALREADY received in the Statutes (2008) when it wasn't? This after Pope Francis said to correct the NCW by USING the Statutes (2008) which definitely do NOT contain permission for all the alterations to the Mass? This after Pope Francis knowing that there is controversy over this issue still has NOT issued any written permission for the additions and deletions? Do you not think that if these alterations were permitted, he would gladly let the world know????

    BE CAREFUL. I am not saying that the NCW is all bad. On the contrary. I commend the NCW for their zeal in evangelization, interest in the Word of God, adherence to Humanae Vitae, etc. But, the NCW Mass was designed by man. Thankfully,some of the errorS were corrected - such as reinstating the prayers, etc. that referred to "sacrifice." However, many of the man-made errors still remain. That is why the Mass does not have written permission for the alterations FROM THE POPE. It also remains there is no verbal approval for the "alterations" from the POPE. This Mass remains divisive. This Mass encourages people to be one with the dictates of the NCW, when it should be encouraging people to be ONE with Christ, one with HIS WILL.
    In the end, we will see those calling good - bad, and bad - good. BE CAREFUL.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 3:06 am,

      You left out the part that St. Ignatius also said to follow and honor the Bishop just as Christ followed and honored His Father. The NCW has been following and honoring Archbishop Apuron.

      It is important that you write your letter of complaint because that is the protocol. After trying to correct the NCW unsuccessfully, then your next step is to inform the Vatican. After having done your duty, you can go away happy and focus more in confessing and correcting your own sins rather than the sins of others.