You know... the big juicy kind. A huge beef patty, gooey cheese, ripe tomato, crisp lettuce, sweet pickle relish, tangy mustard soft bun. Add some potato chips and a piece of corn on the cob and you've got a great picnic dinner. Yummy.
I eat a lot of pot-roast. It's good: filling and tasty, comforting and simple. Beef, potatoes, some vegetables, gravy. Everyday food. Usually it's got the same basic form but there is always some small variation.
And, occasionally, for the special occasion - or just a random day - there's steak. Probably the most elegant of these three beef dishes, often served on china; baked potato on the side with sour cream and butter.
I've had oodles of pot-roast in the past year and even a few steaks but I was craving a good hamburger until this weekend. I hadn't had one in well over a year. Now, if you've spent time with me in the past few weeks in Steubenville, you may know this to be categorically false. Perhaps you've even seen me eat a hamburger. Things change a bit though when I mention that I'm not actually talking about food. Well, I am... but not "that" type of food. No, this refers to the type of food which satisfies much more than the growling in my stomach.
In the Catholic "Restaurant" (NOT to be confused with the "Catholic" Cafeteria!!) we are blessed with many different types of Eucharistic "entrees." The pot-roast: Sunday morning in a parish, standard hymns, homily - some created much more equal than others, etc. the Mass of the "average" Catholic. The steak: smells and bells Mass be it TLM or NO, Latin, polyphony, heady, focus on the mystery. There are numerous other options (especially when one considers the various Eastern Catholic Rites... or the new Ordinariates -- can't wait to attend one of those liturgies!) but these two have been most common in my life the past year. And they are great. Powerful. But, there is another "entree" that I love just as much.
I've been desperately missing the hamburger: charismatic worship... both within and outside of the Mass. Is it as homey as a pot-roast? Nope. Is it as fancy as the steak? Hah. But, we don't have a picnic when we want to be fancy. We picnic when we want to spend time with friends on a very real level. There is usually little pretense when gathering around a fire cooking burgers. It's the same with Mass. Simple - no complicated theological texts set to polyphonic music by some "dead white guy," we're being real with God and letting Him be real with us. While I can't speak for anyone else, I can be more moved to true worship by a simple song like "Shout to the Lord" than by a "classic" hymn... or listing to a fabulous choir sing Palestrina. I don't think they can be pitted against each other. One is not "better" than the other. And, in the end... it's all the same beef: Christ is there feeding us with His Body and Blood.
Anyway, this weekend's Defending the Faith conference was a breath of fresh air. Some people can eat steak every day of their life and be perfectly satisfied... I need a bit more variety in mine. And I desperately needed a "hamburger."