Friday, September 28, 2012

Lectors; A Serious Call to Service

The word lector is Latin for "one who reads". However, in the liturgical sense of the word, "reader" is lacking at best. Being a lector is a serious call to service, a call to serve God and the people of God. It is not to be taken lightly or without some understanding of what the Church prescribes for such service.

I will avoid a prolonged accounting of the history of the lector as a minor order, but will point out that the Catholic Church still considers the lector to be "instituted" for service.(1)

In the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, I find this particular instruction speaks to the care with which this service is to be attended to:

In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, people who are truly suited to carrying out this function and carefully prepared, so that by their hearing the readings from the sacred texts the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture (GIRM 101)

Wow! There is much to process there:

  • "deputed" - as in being given a responsibility
  • "proclaim" - as in declaring insistently, praising and glorifying publicly
  • "carefully" prepared - as in not waiting to the last minute, as in praying before practicing, as in arriving to Mass early, as in wearing the appropriate attire, etc.

and that

  • "the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture" - as in the lector has a great responsibility to cooperate with God's Grace and the Holy Spirit in being so effective that the people of God are moved to also cooperate with God's Grace and the Holy Spirit, preparing them more efficaciously to receive the Word of God in their hearts and subsequently the Eucharistic feast as well.

In the readings, the table of God's word is laid for the faithful and the riches of the Bible are opened to them. (+)
When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself is speaking to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, is proclaiming the gospel. (+)

(1) based upon GIRM 99
(+) From Roman Missal Formational Materials provided by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2010.

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