Practicing the Virtues
But there is also a good deal of time devoted to worship. We have been reminded several times that worship is central to our formation here at General, and that formation and education go hand-in-hand here.
Yesterday Professor Farwell, who teaches liturgics, told a story that illustrates how worship figures in our formation. (My apologies for the parts of this story that I have embellished or left out -- I confess that I was already pretty tired by the time we heard this, and I found myself zoning in and out.) The story tells of a young man who found himself smitten with a young woman from the adjoining village. He wanted to woo her, but was afraid that he might not be worthy of her attention. In order to make himself look better, he put on a mask of the town's patron saint.
And with that face, he found favor with the young woman. They began to court, and soon she was devoted to him. The other young men in the village, however, were jealous. They all had designs on this maiden, and who was this stranger in a mask who had taken her away from them?
They seized the young man, and demanded that he take off his mask. And when he did, they saw that his face had taken the form of the saint whose mask they wore.
As we worship, we hope to take on the form of that great work. We aspire to become the things that we read and hear--that our form will take on that of Jesus. Our liturgical practice can change the face of who we are.
But, of course, intentionality is important. We are not just putting on a mask--there must be ownership of that which we enact. And we must have an openness and willingness to receive.
So we find ourselves worshipping often. Each week there are over 20 services in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. And as Professor Farwell said, as we gather, "we practice the virtues that we hope in time will be woven into our very being."
Let this be our prayer. Amen!