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I wish I could convey Traditional Catholicism….. September 2, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, Saints.
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…..and I hate to even use that term, because ‘Traditional’ Catholicism is just Catholicism.  It’s just the Faith that was shared and practiced by so many Saints and Fathers and so many others for centuries.  The Church has of course had many ups and downs, and there have been few true ‘golden periods’ of faith.  But I wish…..I actually pray…….that I could convey to many who are perhaps skeptical of what is branded Traditional Catholicism just what it is that so attracts.

It’s not so much Latin in the Mass.  I do very much appreciate the fact that Latin is the universal language of the Church, a ‘dead’ language that can be fixed and used everywhere, with the same context and  meaning.  I think Latin is a beautiful language, but the Traditional Latin Mass is about much more than just Latin – it’s about Christo-centrism, reverence, beauty, mystery, transcendence, and timelessness.  It’s about a simultaneous connection with the past, present, and future – at the moment of consecration, present reality seems to fall away and the eternity of Christ’s once for all time Sacrifice is apparent for all.  I wish I could freeze that moment in time – but I shall not be able to do that, unless and until I am, by the Grace of God, in Heaven.

But I have found, having now been assisting more and more at an FSSP parish for the past year, that there is infinitely more to (ok, I’ll just say it without quotes) Traditional Catholicism than just the TLM.  There is a robustness, a thoroughness, to the practice of the Faith that is amazing.  The depth of the Faith becomes readily apparent – although I have tried to throw myself as fully as my station in life allows into the Faith over the past several years, once one becomes exposed to the riches of Tradition, I realize that I am still very much a toddler just barely sticking my toe into this sea of Faith.  Yes, this richness is available to all the Church, not just traditional communities, but I’ve never felt it so deeply and richly lived as I do in a traditional parish.   Once one becomes involved in this type of parish (in my experience), it really becomes the center of your life.   But the catechesis, the depth of knowledge of the Faith, that is transmitted – at least at this local parish – is simply astounding.  I can’t possibly communicate even the things I’ve learned just in the last week – things about salvation, the number of the elect, the working of Grace, St. Alphonse Ligouri and St. Thomas Aquinas – it’s incredible.  But the sense that is most prevalent to me is, even though I’ve been blessed to be associated with a number of good, even very good, parishes, this is IT.  I’ve found it.  This is the Faith that I’ve seen glimpses of and gotten to enjoy to some degree or another, but this is it in its complete and total fullness.  I sorely wish I had the skill to communicate what that feels like sometimes, especially at Mass.  Just recently at Mass, I was kneeling, reading through the prayers and listening to the sublime music of the schola, and I looked up at the priest during the prayers preceding the Consecration, and I felt tremendous transports of joy and awe and even lack of understanding – how can I be here?  How can I be considered worthy to be present at this unbelievable, mystical font of Grace?  Yet God loves me so much he allows unworthy me to take part in this meeting of earth and Heaven and even to mold Himself into my being as intimately as he possibly can. I could almost feel the Grace just radiating from the altar back through the nave and over me.  I’ve never had a transport quite like that before.

I am not a terribly good writer.   I am probably not being very convincing – God has given me manifold gifts, but I likely do not use them terribly well.  But I just pray that more people – everyone – who loves the Lord and Holy Mother Church would give a traditional community a serious look.  Grace works in infinite ways tailored for each individual, and we all have our preferences, but I really, truly believe that every faithful Catholic should assist at a traditional parish with an open mind for a few weeks.  Just going once is unlikely to be convincing – you’ll be too busy adjusting to the unfamiliarity and possibly following the Mass.  But I think if you keep coming back for a few weeks, you may well get a sense of what I find so incredible and wonderful about it all.

I know there are readers who may have experienced the TLM years ago, before Vatican II.  Those experiences may not have been positive.  I think that you will find the celebration of the TLM much different now than it was then.  There is a great love for the Liturgy and a  desire to make it a very holy, Grace-filled event for all involved.  Active participation is definitely encouraged – we should pray the Mass with the priest.   

This post has already become longer than I intended.  I am sorry to have prattled on, I could keep writing and writing and writing about this subject all day.  Obviously, I have great love for what I have found.  I desire to share that joy with others.  I pray that you may consider checking out a traditional parish, if you have not done so already.  And if there is not a traditional parish near you, I pray there will be one, soon.

Comments

1. Rose - September 2, 2011

Thank you for putting this into words. My experience with the FSSP parish I’ve been attending for 4 years is the same as yours. The knowledge and depth of the faith taught by these priests and their concern for the salvation of souls is amazing. I feel like I finally know what it means to be Catholic.

2. Jordan - September 2, 2011

I know exactly how you feel, and it’s especially a tremendous blessing for us converts. Just simply mediating on the beauty of the truth and seeing it practiced to an extent greater than most parishes really facilitates an outpouring of grace and directs me to a closer union with our Lord. I too feel unworthy of such a blessing.

3. Steve B - September 2, 2011

Tantamergo,

I think that you expressed quite well the sentiments of many Catholics who have re-discovered the richness, beauty, and fullness of our faith in our FSSP parishes – and as you also mention the depth of fellowship we often find with other Catholic families who often have journeyed long, far, and wide to finally find our true Catholic “home” (reminds me vividly of our Lord’s parable “The Pearl of Great Price” in Matt. 13:45-46).

I too, like you and many others who assist at the Ancient Rite of Holy Mass, am often nearly overwhelmed by the tidal wave of spiritual blessings and graces. The “Domine non sum dignus …” resonates quite powerfully for me at times throughout the Traditional Latin Mass….

Fantastic post!!!

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX


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