“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
I was thinking this morning (always a dangerous thing) and I realized that the Catholic Church was like a box of chocolates. Here are all these graces and teachings, something for everyone. And they are all covered in chocolate, which is the liturgy, and is tasty all by itself.
Now, some people don’t like certain chocolates. Creams seem to be the big culprit. That’s fine, leave the creams for me; I love them. And there are people who might not choose creams, but find them OK because they’re covered in chocolate. They won’t spit them out or anything; they’ll shrug and say, “Better luck next time”. But other people have to know. Some manufacturers have a little candy missal on the boxtop: the lemon creams are here, the caramels there. Catechesis is always good. Other folks want to crack the chocolates open, stick their finger in there and see. This degrades the experience for all concerned. But the chocolates still taste good, even if they’re ugly and germy. You can do that when it’s just your box; notsomuch when you’re sharing it with others.
Now, it seems to me that when you deliturgize the liturgy, when you remove all the elements of mystery, it’s like removing the chocolate from the box of chocolates. Yes, you can see exactly what the centers are. You can take some, and leave the rest alone. Maybe everyone will leave those alone. And you’ll never experience a really good cream, that would change your opinion of creams, because “creams are ucky” and you don’t take them And in that depression over there are a group of loose nuts, who aren’t bound together by chocolate anymore. More importantly, it is by definition not a box of chocolates anymore, it’s a box of mixed candies. That could be a good thing, but it’s not the same thing. The chocolate, which unified all these disparate flavors and made palatable the ones we weren’t so fond of, is gone.