A Painful Lack of Reverence
Believe it or not, that last line took me about five minutes to write. Why? Well today I attended my nephew's first communion. It should have been a beautiful occasion, and I'm sure it was to a majority of people who were there, although many of them shouldn't have been anywhere near a church. Some people should just stay away. Yeah, I said it.
If you don't read this blog very often, or it's your first time here, I returned to the Catholic Church about a year and a half ago. However, I returned via the traditional Latin mass or TLM. The Catholic Church before it was radically dismantled in 1962. I never quite liked growing up in the new and improved Catholic church, and it's very painful for me to say that. All that time I didn't even know why I didn't like it, but I didn't. But when I returned to the Catholicism of my ancestors, I experienced and continue to experience the true joy and reverence of God.
Without making this too long, here are the bullet points of what I observed today that has been stuck under my skin:
- the sheer volume of gabbing prior to mass - and even during mass
- When I sat down at my pew, I kneeled down to pray, which I do before every mass. To my surprise, I got looks from people.
- I was also hoping to be able to go to confession before mass. That's also customary in the TLM as needed. As I looked around for an usher, I saw one man, leaning on the wall at the back of the church, reading. So I inquired, "is confession available before mass?". He looked at me like I was from another plant. He started leafing through the bulletin, and said "I'm not sure we even offer that anymore". !!!!!! I should have asked him if someone would make it available to me.
- As I sat at the pew, waiting for the service to start, I could very audibly hear people saying very casually, "oh my God!!!" Who takes the Lord's name in vain, in his own house????
- All throughout the service, people talked. And audibly. The two ladies in front of my Dad and I were having a straight up conversation.
- There is kneeling in the Catholic church. I'd say half of the people were kneeling at the appropriate times.
- At communion time, the chatty lady in front of us said to the girl next to her, "no I'm not going up, I'm Protestant". Now, there is nothing wrong with being Protestant, but the way she said it was in a way that dismissed the little girl's going up for Communion.
Half the time, I was looking to my father in disbelief. I could hardly believe the behavior I was seeing. No reverence, no respect, no nothing.
And as long as I'm ranting, I'll make it much worse.
Altar girls. Lay people distributing communion. And my ex-sister in law later saying, "I went to communion for the first time today".
But in all of this, I had one very beautiful shining moment.
The service was attended by a Monsignor who was (I think they said), the oldest in the diocese. After mass, I went to find him. There are many good priests, but I have an affinity for the faithful Old Timers. When I found him, I introduced myself, and he took my hand as I talked with him. There is a very specific look of someone who is at least, let's say, 98 years old. This is a man who has lived a long time, and has probably witnessed many events on the human spectrucm. I asked him if he would please bless my Rosary. I can't recall his exact words, but he was a very pleasant and kind person...he said something to the effect of, "why, I would love to."
As he blessed it, I could focus on nothing but the glow of the pearls in his small hands. At that moment, I heard nothing else in the room. It all fell away. And he blessed it in latin...
He handed it back to me and said, "I broke mine the other evening". And I replied, "you must have been praying very hard."
Through all of that today, it made me realize one thing. In all of the chaos around us, you have to stay faithful to what you know to be true and right.
And... you have to create moments of grace, they won't simply find you.
Libellés : TLM