A culture that cannot praise the divine becomes a bare, cold place. The demise of religious and spiritual practice has contributed hugely to this flattening.
One can understand how a culture that has come of age can find little shelter or resonance in the way many of the rituals of institutional religion are practised. Increasing numbers of people stay away. Others attempt to develop their own rituals. The difficulty here is that a deeply resonant ritual emerges over years out of the rhythms of longing and belonging in a community. Great rituals create an imaginative and symbolic frame which can awaken numinous otherness, the tenderness, and the danger of the Divine. It is a subtle and infinitely penetrating form. Scattered, isolated individuals cannot invent ritual. Consumerism has stolen the sacred ritual structures of religion and uses them incisively in its liturgies of advertising and marketing. Meanwhile the post-modern soul becomes poorer and falls even further from the embrace and practice of sacred belonging. The great thing about a community at prayer is that your prayer helps mine — as mine helps yours. This makes no consumerist sense, but it is one of the most vivid enhancements of Being available to us. Individualism of the raw competitive kind is ignorant of this dimension.
– John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes (p. 210-211)