What We Can't Fakeby George Miller on 06/18/12
Our love and hunger for the Scriptures, our faith in Christ's presence in them, and our conscious preparation before we approach the ambo can't be acted out.
The late Fr. Joseph M. Champlin in his book, Messengers of God's Word, notes, "The appropriate inner qualities of the reader become apparent to the listener without a single word being proclaimed."
He explains, "The community gathered for worship simply senses that he or she believes, loves Sacred Scripture, prays, prepares conscientiously, and has a humble yet confident awareness of the lector's dignity. The congregation also silently recognizes the lack of those characteristics."
We can have all the technical skills down pat: pacing, pausing, volume, articulation, breathing and all the rest; but it's the extent to which we possess those inner qualities that show our credibility to our listeners.
The stronger we project our belief and excitement that Jesus is truly present in the word of God we're proclaiming, and that it's he who is speaking through our voice, the higher the likelihood that our fellow parishioners will embody that belief and excitement with us.
Think of the excitement people feel when they tell a friend that their daughter or dearest niece is finally pregnant, their Aunt Lucie cured of cancer, or their child scoring a game-winning goal. Then think of the even greater excitement we can project to our listeners when we're filled with those vital inner qualities underscored by Fr. Champlin.
The love for the word of God and the belief that Jesus is present in every reading of Scripture is the boast of a great lector. It's the one thing we can't fake.
In God we have boasted all day long; your name we will praise forever: Psalm 44:9