Sunday, December 5, 2010

Earthen Vessels

(A response to my friend Joe Grabowski's post about the communion of saints.)

At times like yesterday when I went to Holy Mass at a parish center that is used for Mass by a parish in Kansas that has abandoned its old traditional church and uses a meeting room with folding chairs and no kneelers until the new church is built (even though the old traditional building remains standing), when the priest encourages everyone to sit comfortably for the consecration (since kneeling on the floor would be too difficult), when the homily turns the peace that passes understanding into "why don't we all just get along", when the music sounds like new age sauna background tracks, when the "communion hymn" assures us that we are God's body (true, of course, but not in the way the hymn seems to imply), when a new rite is borrowed from a Bernardine influenced web site for the congregation to bless the "cribe shrine" which the priest encourages us all to pray and which asks for the blessings of the star of Bethlehem upon our homes - whatever that means - deliberately avoiding the invocation of any saint or angel or any plea for the grace of God, when I leave Holy Mass not with a feeling I've come closer to Christ but with a strong desire to punch someone in the face, when all of this happens, I say to myself, "This Church still somehow, against all expectation, produces saints", then I know that it is not a tradition of man, for if it were, it would not last out the next few years without completely self-destructing. It is the saints and their example and our communion with them that serves as the best evidence for me of the continued presence of Christ among us when all else seems lost.

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