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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Ritual, how could we do without it!"

Merry Christmas! I hope your day was full of fun, food and family. For the first year ever, we kept Christmas at home with no extended family-and it was perfect. We have more family to visit this weekend so while my children are distracted by their new toys I will try to get a few short posts up.
I've made slow progress through 'The Long Loneliness' but I would like to pass along those passages which have struck me. Perhaps, you will choose to read this book yourself-maybe make it a new year's resolution.
"Ritual, how could we do without it! Though it may seem to be gibberish and irreverence, though the Mass is offered up in such haste that the sacred sentence, "hoc est corpus meus" was abbreviated into "hocus-pocus" by the bitter protester and has come down into our language meaning trickery, nevertheless there is a sureness and a conviction there. And just as a husband may embrace his wife causally as he leaves for work in the morning, and kiss her absentmindedly in his comings and goings, still that kiss on occasion turns to rapture, a burning fire of tenderness and love. And with this to stay her she demands the "ritual" of affection shown. The little alter boy kissing the cruet of water as he hands it to the priest is performing a rite. We have too little ritual in our lives."
'The Long Loneliness' pgs 199-200

How Day loved the Mass. Even before she converted she probably attend daily Mass more than most Catholics today. But that is not surprising when you see the lack of traditional ritual most churches employ during their services. Yes, I have seen Latin Masses done poorly, and they are just as uninspiring as the emasculated Novus Ordos with all their hand holding and pop music. Day saw the importance of a strong spiritual life in her work. She was firmly rooted in the traditional teachings of the Church, even when she saw the shortcomings of the Church's representatives on Earth. The "spirit of Vatican II" is not the spirit in which she worked. This isn't going to be some anti-Vatican II post, however, it is only when Catholics adopt the traditional views Day and Maurin possessed, can they truly understand what is being asked of them in the Worker Movement and can they truly give their all. A watered down spirituality does not help those working with the poor. Finding a good parish, with a strong priest, regular confessions and Masses (new or old) celebrated with traditional music, reverence and piety is the surest way to strengthen your soul for the work of the Lord. A weak faith leaves one open to temptation and pride that can cause one's focus to shift from the work God calls us to do, to the work we want to do for our own glory. Let us go about our work with the same ritual, reverence and awe as the priest at the tabernacle.
O Lord, we beseech Thee graciously to accept this oblation of our service and that of Thy whole household. Order our days in Thy peace, and command that we be rescued from eternal damnation and numbered in the flock of Thine elect. Through Christ our Lord. Amen