Helping Our Students Worship

Authored by Fr. Peter J. Stravinskas in Issue #31.1 of The Sower

Fr. Stravinskas argues that young people today are looking for a form of worship that is ennobling and uplifting, based on traditional forms of liturgy.

We hear a great deal today about ‘culture’: the youth culture, the culture of life, theculture of death, the anti-culture. And so, I would like to begin my reflections by demonstrating the connection between culture and worship. As a die-hard Latin teacher, I want to establish the etymological linkage. The word cultura (culture) comes from the word cultus (cult, as in ‘worship’). To enter into a language is to enter into the mindset of a people.

Thus, one can say that for the ancient Romans, ‘culture’ was rooted in ‘cult’ or worship. We can smirk at the Greeks and Romans of old with their thousand little gods and goddesses inhabiting the Pantheon but, for all that, they still lived within a transcendental horizon. In other words, the individual human being was answerable to a higher and ultimate authority. And within that horizon, those peoples forged impressive cultures. Similarly, within the Christian scheme of things, we find that what historians have dubbed ‘TheAge of Faith’– the high middle ages – produced a nearly unimaginable font of literature, art, music and architecture – unrivaled to this very moment.

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