Sunday is a holy day for most Christian churches. For the Catholic Church, this is a sacred day as well on which they attend masses where they give thanks to God for having kept them active and alive throughout the week. At masses, the Catholics believe to be responding to Jesus command at the last supper: Do this in remembrance of me
St. Gregory Armenian Catholic Church is an outstretched, native Roman structured building in the outskirts of a busy town in a European country Armenia. Most people in this part of the world are Christians hence its quite explicit finding the masses full of congregators on Sundays. The surrounding (St. Gregory) is peaceful and lucrative for self reflection and spirituality. With the massive turnouts, its an indication that religion has a large influence on the lives of the people in this region. This can also be supported by the fact that idols are sculptured and erected in the sub ways and all around the vicinity of the church. This is strange, my religious doctrines reject the erection, adoring and applauding of idols; particularly when they are manifested in the altar of the Lord. This is kind of odd and very strange for any contemporary protestant Christian like I am.The catholic mass is separated into two parts. The first being Liturgy of the word and the second being Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Liturgy of the word involves reading both the Old and New Testaments prior to the Gospel reading and the priests homily while Liturgy of the Eucharist involves the actual celebration of the sacrament. They (Catholics) regard this (Liturgy of the Eucharist) as the source and summit of Christian life, believing that both the bread and wine brought to the altar transubstantiated via the power of the Holy Ghost into the true body, soul, blood and the divinity of Christ It should be considered that most Christian doctrines dont give a lot of weight on the section of the Catholics Liturgy of the Eucharist. The church does not purport to re-sacrificing Jesus in the sermon but rather to re-represent his sacrifice in an un-bloody manner.
In accordance to the doctrines of the church and as portrayed via sculptured images of her holiness Mary the mother of Jesus Christ in the divine sections of the church; I note that Catholic believes that the church exists both on earth and in heaven simultaneously with virgin Mary and all the Saints being part of the living church in heaven. They do this by quoting their names by the grace of Virgin Mary mother of our savior Jesus Christ. These prayers to Mary and the Saints are a common practice in the life of a Catholic. In my humble point of view, these devotions are not supposed to be worships, only God is supposed to be worshiped. At this juncture I had come about many intriguing issues and practices that were so foreign, inappropriate and questionable. The kissing of the Reverend Fathers apostolic ring and the bowing before him showed papal infallibility. There was so much authority given to him (Reverend Father) while the servants (congregators) were faced with a fierce wave of total subjection to the papal authority.
The dancing, the ululation and the ceremony preceding the reading of the verse was like a political campaign rally that involves cheers, dancing and all that pertain to fanatics.
As the mass ended, I found myself having an open minded approach towards the world of religion. The Son is consubstantial with the Father, which means that the Father and the Son is the same God and as it is across the denominations of the Christian world. The word was also made flesh and given to dwell among us. The status of women in the church is also important. They are treated with respect but are not allowed to be priests according to the Catholic doctrines however they could be nuns, while the same is also practiced in most Christian denominations. In view of other Abrahamic religions, Catholic admits Judaism to be a true religion but they dont believe Jesus to be the Messiah while Islam is a totally no true religion according to them. They (Catholics) consider Mary to be the favored among women and was picked by God to be the mother of Jesus. She is subsequently viewed as sacred and might be petitioned God for as an arbiter to God which is a false teaching as per different groups of the Christian world. According to them, Mary, though favored to be Jesus mother, is an ordinary human with no other special attributes.
For an individual like me from a contemporary protestant church, this was one of the most difficult moments. The whole process seemed to have been pulling strings of cross belief in me. The methodologies of worship; from the type of sermons, to the dances and praises and the procedures of Liturgy of the Eucharist was a nightmare. Though very accommodating, the heart of true worship and Godliness in accordance to the Protestants way of life was totally different and conflicting with the sluggish ways of the Catholics. I did suit myself anyway. The system though quite confusing, it was accommodative, peaceful and lively; something that was worth emulating and incorporating in the contemporary Christian denominations. Every bit of the mass came together compact and powerful. They were as well good time observers.
The sermon was closed, by a word of prayer Holy Mary mother of Jesus, we plead which all through kept me though-stricken about its credibility and efficiency.
Is a prayer through Mary as effective as a Prayer through Jesus Christ? Who is the intercessor of our prayers? Mary or Jesus?
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