First for a bit of humor on this Gaudete Sunday, before I get into the serious stuff:
With all the preoccupation concerning the sexuality of priests these days, this is a group photo of Fr. Dawid Kwiatkowski, our parochial vicar, our deacons, Don Coates and Tom Eden and me. I seldom if ever wear an amice, but last night the amice served a very good purpose. We wanted to remain anonymous during the celebration of our Gaudete Sunday Vigil Mass last night as we donned our fancy pink. I suspect we should take this route too when we wear lavender. Do real priests wear pink? Are amices good for anything?
In traditional Latin Chant:
Or in modern English chant:
INTROIT: Phil. 4:4-6
Gaudete in Domino semper : iterum dico. Gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus : Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis : sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Ps. 84:2: Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria...
Rejoice in the Lord always : again I say: Rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer let your petitions be made known unto God. Ps. 84:2: Thou hast blessed thy land, O Lord : thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. Glory be to the Father...
Did you or will you hear the actual entrance chant of the Mass for the Third Sunday of Advent also known as Gaudete Sunday? Did your priest and deacon wear rose?
This Gaudete Sunday there are many who are questioning what this Introit Scripture is teaching us and by which we use it to worship God. Innocence has been taken from children and once again from our country. How can we rejoice in the face of such devastation visited on our brothers and sisters, our children in NewTown, Connecticut?
If we are pagans, atheists, agnostics or Catholics of lite faith, we cannot rejoice in the Lord this Sunday. We are grieving as a people who walk in darkness who have not seen the wonderful light or the light we have seen is not the true light of the world, it is an artificial light we have concocted for ourselves in our manufactured faith and our manufactured liturgies both of which fail us when the harsh realities of Satan and sin enter into the sanctuary of our manufactured faith and shatter it.
Even the young seem to sense that a manufactured faith of artificial light is a useless faith and that meaning and purpose can be found elsewhere, like bars and opium dens.
But there are still others who find true meaning in life when life seems so meaningless and tragic. They are the young who yearn for something more than plastic, manufactured faith, they yearn for orthodoxy, tradition and a sense of rootedness in the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of mammon.
Yesterday I met with an 18 year old senior from a public high school who lives in a small Georgia town 30 minutes south of Macon. Ever since he watched Pope John Paul II's funeral on television almost eight years ago, when he was 10, he has been fascinated with the Catholic faith and her traditions, her orthodoxy.
He started coming to Mass about a couple of months ago, driving to Macon for it. He's been here four times for Mass and this past Sunday God struck him in a way he hadn't been struck before. He attended our 12:10 PM Mass, with our 29 year old Parochial, orthodox vicar preaching the Mass celebrated ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, completely sung, with incense and bells and the option to kneel and receiving Holy Communion by way of intinction on the tongue.
He also has been reading my blog. I told him there were other Catholic Churches closer to his town and asked him why he was driving to Macon and St. Joseph. He said he loves the traditional architecture of St. Joseph and our ORTHODOXY! His word, not mine! This from an 18 year old man, who is a senior in a southern public high school.
He will be joining our Inquiry phase of our RCIA starting in January and God willing will be baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil of 2014! Pray for him.
Jeffrey Tucker at the Chant Cafe tells of a tail of two churches:
[The first church] "the brand of Christianity they are selling is what one might call fashionable in an academic sense. Every effort is made to avoid what might be called Christian orthodoxy. Homilies are community conversations in which every expression of any idea is considered right. People who suggest the truth of basic points of the Nicene Creed are looked upon with suspicion. The social activities revolve around political issues like the environment, racial justice, and LGBT concerns. If you believe something approximating what Christians have always believed, you have to prepared to be schooled in the ways of the modern world.
The other (church) provide(s) what you might expect from religious institutions: actual belief. People pray. There is teaching. There is liturgical form. There are Bible studies and people seek truth in the Scriptures. Christians are not looked upon as the bad guys of all human history. Reverence and seriousness dominates the services. Social activities presume a faith commitment. They celebrate the joyfulness of Christian life rather than sit around grousing about social and political problems like racism, inequality, and environmental decay. To be sure, these active Churches all have different doctrines and traditions, but whatever they are, each is proclaimed and practiced with conviction.
Trends in the Catholic Church today seem to be on the right side of history. The new English Missal takes the faith seriously. We are slowly backing away from the trends of the past decades to ignore the liturgical music tradition and replace it with fashionable pop songs. Parishes are realizing that Catholicism itself has a certain cultural cache because it, nearly alone, has stuck by truth and stood up to the powers that be, even in the face of relentless persecution. There is a certain heroism about professing the Catholic faith today.
And even within the Catholic framework, differences are emerging between the flimsy faith of the contemporary past and the new traditionalism. Among the traditional orders, we are seeing expansion but among those who bought into the temporary mushheadedness, we see faltering and decay. Publishers like Ignatius Press are booming while others are not. The programs of the Church Music Association of America are packed to capacity but not so with others.
A Christianity that doesn’t believe in itself lives for a while on momentum of the past but doesn’t have much of a future. A Christianity that is authentic renews itself regardless of the changing times precisely because it makes its foundation the eternal truths that transcend the passage of time."
Thank you Jeffrey Tucker for your cogent insights!