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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

My Holy Week Wonderings About Wanderings, and an Insight Into Elderly Priests

While perusing the Rosary Shrine site, I'm kicking myself a bit that when I was in Summit I didn't take as much advantage as I could have of the monastery's liturgical largess.
Mass, yes, and the odd procession, and droppin' in and droppin' to my knees, (I am so grateful to have learned the Very Catholic habit of "making a quick visit" almost by osmosis from my parents as a child, it stuck with me even in the years of Thoughtless Automatic Catholicism of the  Know-It-All Young,*) but the Divine Office wasn't even on my radar.
What I wouldn't give to have such a liturgical refuge now....
It's hours to the convent we may visit for the Paschal Vigil, and a bit of a trek to the Byzantine parish whose doors I may darken on Thursday, and the nearest EF will only have Sunday, I think....

Don't get me wrong - I think it is important, especially for those of us in Beauty's thrall, to at least occasionally have no choice but to worship in a Mass that is prepared and celebrated by those less... punctilious? skilled? fastidious? cultivated? knowledgeable?

In any case, doing the best they can, even where their best isn't all that.

It's good to remember, that even if He is greeted clumsily or with bad singing or with minimal splendor, (always remembering that splendor and noble simplicity are not combatants in some binary, zero-sum conflict,) we have not been left orphans, HE IS WITH US.
Some of us need to be reminded, celebratus atque non celebratus, Deus aderit.
I know I do.
But that's a reminder to pew-sitters only - you have some control? you have some say?
In that case, DO IT RIGHT.

And reverence requires no skill. Silence, attentiveness, being present? that should be in almost everyone's wheelhouse, (I'm not talking to you with the autistic sister.)

Now, one of the ways I have made peace with some of the (to me,) outlandish things I have heard from catechists, and homilists and confessors and pastors and prelates and yeah, even popes, is the insight that NOT   EVERY  ADMONISHMENT  IS  FOR  EVERY  EAR. (One might wish that the Universal Pastor would tailor his words to more, well...  universal needs, but there it is.)
You don't make excessive use of air conditioning? Bully for you, maybe someone else does.
Vague criticism aimed in your general direction simply may not be intended to apply to you specifically, don't be so egocentric.

Well, it has been noted more than once that the most aggressively and pointedly progressive in the presbyterate tend to be those closest to their final reward.
I have just applied said new-found insight in formulating my reaction to a sermon this morning in the run-up to the Triduum.
I did not become annoyed  or even hurt - just tolerant and indulgent and mildly amused.
We were told not to get too worked up about solemnity, and being pious and long-faced, we should hope that Holy Week brings us some relief from our anxieties, a little peace of mind.


But I realized, the dear man wasn't preaching to me - he was preaching to my (long dead) grandparents!

Too much solemnity? no enough complacency? Seriously?
But wait, I thought - that Catholic Guilt, those hard sayings, and over-emphasis on rules and regulations, onerous penances?
Maybe he's right, maybe that IS a big problem!
In 1960.
Not here, not now, I thought, as three people stood in the sanctuary trading jokes and pleasantries a foot or two from the exposed Blessed Sacrament.
But maybe there. Maybe then. Maybe the last time he was out amongst his parishioners.
That sweet old monsignor was preaching to my grandparents.

Because be honest,  I'm not sure there is any place within driving distance -- make that driving distance with three two nights in a motel factored in  -- where there is a surfeit of solemnity.
I think it only exists in his memory.
But if there is such a parish, such a Catholic community, if it's not mythical?
I want to go to there.
*Why yes, that is "tacky."

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