As I mentioned elsewhere, I went to the Boston Men's Conference yesterday. One aspect of the day was quite nice: the sound of 5000 men praying the Our Father and Hail Mary with one voice. It was like something out of a Star Wars movie where the clone army speaks as one. But in a good way.
Which brings me to my point: the prayer of Father Mike. Now Father Mike is not a real individual, but a tendency, a habit, a scourge. He is the voice of every presider who can't help but to pray in his own, very meaningful, very personal way at Mass. That's fine in general, but when Father Mike is leading prayers that are also prayed by the assembly -- the Gloria, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer -- he is not satisfied with the rhythmic flow of the sound of a congregation accompanying itself in prayer; a group of people finding the perfect shared groove that unites a cacophony of individual voices. Using the power vested in him by his sole possession of electronic amplification equipment, he is sorely tempted...nay, he succumbs!!...to the urge to out-pray the poor, silly people he leads.
Yes. Father Mike must use every skill he gained in seminary to force everyone pray his very, very special way.
Our Father...who art...in...hea-ven
Hal-lowed be.........thy name...
And on and on. Once the assembly has realized it has been overpowered, it stops praying, concentrating now on trying to imitate the unpredictable tempo of Father Mike's amplified prayer.
A suggestion to Father Mike and his ilk: once you have started off the prayer, let the assembly find its own level; let the people take ownership of their own prayer and trust that together, they will remember all the words and make it to the end without your help.
To help them pray...get out...of the....way!!!
art: "Soapbox" by The Glasson Group, Western Australia.