Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Does Fr. Hardesty Do That ?! Part 3

After my homily for this evening's Mass I gave a brief third installment in my "Why Does Fr. Hardesty Do That?!" series.

Question: "Why does Fr. Hardesty never look at us during the Mass, does he not like us?"

Answer: I'm hearing in my head a whole flurry of answers to that question from a priest-friend of mine, but I won't go there!  I keep my eyes downcast throughout the Mass, except of course during those parts where I address the faithful, in order that I may better pray the Mass.  The Mass is one extended prayer to the Father, and keeping my eyes downcast in prayer helps me to offer it as a prayer.  Also, there is a desire for me to decrease so that Christ may increase.  As the representative of Christ at the altar, recollecting myself in prayer helps me to lay aside all of my own personality quirks, eccentricities, mannerisms, etc. that might draw attention to me and away from Christ and the sacred action.  My hope is that you will be edified by this and that it will help you to pray the Mass as well.  Plus, you can ask any of the staff who will tell you that I am eminently distractable so "custody of the eyes", as they used to call it, practically speaking, helps me to focus.  True, when a teacher addresses a class or when someone gives a speech to a group, eye contact is crucial.  But in the liturgy, eye contact with the people during the prayers to the Father creates a closed circle rather than a movement forward and up to the Father.  So when I don't look up often, it is not because I dislike you or don't love you... I very much love you.  And it is out of that love that I celebrate Mass as reverently as possible.


Tina Hardy said...

Please let us know the next time you get to officiate mass in the Owensboro area. We in the Hardesty clan would love! I know a priest who is noticing who is coming in late at mass, as well as everything else in the congregation. You're right, we find it distracting.

Anonymous said...

I know somebody(me?)who should walk to communion with her eyes closed...

Fr. Matthew Hardesty said...

Why's that, Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Too much distractons. Getting out of the pew can be an obstacle course with umbrellsas, handbags, people's knees etc..
No action on the altar, but a feast for the eye all around you once you are pulled out of a prayerful mood: cute chidren, outrageous outfit, new fashion gear and so on.
Not paying respectful attention to a King is a crime of lese-majesty.
If the King happens to be God it is called a sin ( of the severe kind).
" and if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away". OUCH!
I would prefer the option of having my eyes closed or 80% close if I still love life.