Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Christ: Way, Truth, and Life

I apologize for my lack of recent posts. Activity has been slow on campus. However, I have had some thoughts recently that need to be expressed.

I recently loaned a book to a priest friend which explained rubrics for adoration more fully. We had an e-mail exchange in which I said,

I'm glad it was helpful. I find the introduction most beautiful. The liturgy is really my passion. I really believe that liturgy done well brings us into intimacy with our Lord and teaches us the faith (lex orandi, lex credendi). When the proper balance between reverence and solemnity on one side and inculturation on the other is achieved, people will be deeply attracted to the faith. Sometimes I really struggle on campus where it can be hard to find liturgy celebrated according to the rubrics of the Church. I know it's justified as trying to reach people, and this is certainly a noble endeavor, but sometimes we go too far. What I'm trying to say is, I think it's great that you ordered a copy. It is an incredible book with many insights.

It was such a striking contrast to a conversation I had just the week prior about the liturgy, in which my interlocutor expressed the view that all that matters was whether or not the Mass was valid. Everything after that was superfluous rules. He was, in particular, interested in rejecting papal legislation of Church music. He is right when he says they can become superfluous rules, but it’s rare that such a case occurs. I don’t know many people who get worked up over priests having to work with what they have. I do know people who are upset by priests who for no reason other than personal preference make the liturgy their own creation, not vesting properly, changing words, and subjecting the laity, who have a right to Mass according to the Church’s rubrics, to the worst form of clericalism. I highly recommend an article which I once read in Saint Austin Review “The Importance of the Liturgy and Liturgical Form” by Shawn Tribe.

This apathy towards proper liturgy seems to stem from failing to put an emphasis on Christ as Truth. Christian living has become about good feelings and not about Truth. But wasn’t it our Holy Father who said that, "Truth without love is cold; love without truth is empty." How many times do people take the time to study their faith and check to see if they are living in accordance with true doctrine? I am not saying everyone should have a theology degree, but it seems to me that every Catholic should be trying to understand what the Church teaches and why. This must be done in a two-fold manner: the first is in prayer, particularly Eucharistic adoration, and the second is through study.

A disregard for Truth could stem from a lack of love of Christ. Imagine this situation: someone comes to you and says that you did something that hurt someone you love deeply. This is something you continue to do. Would the normal reaction be to try and understand or to commit the act more, assuming that your gut was right? Clearly, true love demands that you cease committing the act and try to come to an understanding. Obviously, sometimes one must decide that the act must be done and that the beloved is wrong, but this can only happen after much study.

We live in an age that forgets that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He leads to the Father; He gives the fullness of Life, and He cares about Truth because He Is It. We must return to an authentic study of catechesis in our parishes and among the people of God if we want to increase devotion beyond, to quote Cardinal Sean, a mere “me and Jesus and the warm fuzzies” spirituality.

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