Now I am certainly not ready to apply to change rites, but I am yearning to attend another Melkite Divine Liturgy like nothing before. Not kneeling and not genuflecting was hard. Doing a little research into the rite over the past days has made me understand the rite is not just the Liturgy and there are many things which culturally I would have to figure out-after all I have been Roman for 49 years.
I am not sure if after one experience I can communicate what I found at Our Lady of the Cedars which I haven’t found anywhere else. Perhaps the presence of God was more profound or visible. Perhaps the community of worshipers (including the priest and deacon) seemed to be both more casual (no, casual is not the right word- perhaps humble) and intense at the same time.
For the Melkites, this was not the first Sunday of Advent. The Gospel was about the blind man trying to reach Jesus over the objections of the crowd. One part of the homily struck me: the deacon told us that in contrast to the crowd which tried to prevent the blind man from reaching Jesus, the Church’s mission (and thus ours) is to help “the blind” reach Jesus. It seemed to me that the Melkite Divine Liturgy was trying to help this blind man (me) reach Jesus this past Sunday.
Oremus pro invicem!