Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thank you, Lord, for priests

Yeah! I have time to write a post!

Often I am awed by the traditional manner of new and young priests. The Masses these devoted men offer are detailed according to the rubric and rich in the variety of canonical and liturgical treasures. The young men are devoted to focusing attention on the sacrifice of praise offered up to the Lord. Witnessing this younger generation of holy men offers me an assurance of continuity and tradition, and in opening myself up to welcome new additions to our family (His will be done) this continuity confirms my desire to have our children raised in the Catholic faith.

Reflecting on the readings today, I can see how the priests' redirection is rooted in Scripture:
First reading: Obey the Lord, turn away from sin and love thy neighbor.
Responsorial: To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Gospel: Focus on humility and obedience to the Law and seek not to exalt yourself.

These young priests have been bold in their homilies to educate the faithful about sin and the most valuable of all virtues, love. They have declared the glory of the Lord without compromise and with zeal that sends me home thanking the Lord for their fervor. Moreover, they have instructed the congregations before them to focus on the Lord first and educated us on what repentance truly means. For my wife and I, it is good.

While embracing this redirection, my thoughts linger on the priests I’ve benefited from in the last few decades. Specifically, this morning, we were blessed to have an older priest celebrate Mass. By his actions, it was obvious that he was familiar with the surroundings but not familiar with the routine of the young pastor’s instruction to those serving. This older holy man did not get flustered when he began reading a collect from Advent. He simply stopped, smiled, found the correct page, and continued.

This man’s love of the Lord and love for us truly impressed me today. The inviting flow of his practiced gestures, the calm, caressing words of prayer, the constant offer of being his “friends,” the gentle, yet confident way he held the Blessed Sacrament, and, most of all, his genuine smile revived a recognition of the Lord’s presence at daily Mass.

Mind you, the priest added a few words and the rubric may not been observed to the letter. While I do not advocate for deviation from the rubric, I appreciated the “fatherly way” of this older priest. I enjoy the unhurried, patient, and meek way he offered the Mass.

I am not well versed in the reasons why the Second Vatican Council chose to revise the old form of the Mass. I know that the Novus Ordo is valid, but I also know that some priests have taken unnecessary liberties and have abused this form of the Mass. I know that when I go to a Novus Ordo Mass in a different language my feeling of solidarity with all present is subdued. I long for the unifying tradition of early forms of the Mass, and I am hopeful and excited for the Extraordinary form of the Mass, soon to be celebrated here in the Diocese of Charlotte. I look forward to experiencing the historical, traditional, and literal “catholic” nature of the Latin Mass.

I know these young priests are also eager to bring the Extraordinary form of the Mass to the people. They will offer it with precision and devotion. I do hope that the older generation will also embrace the Latin Mass again and bring to it their experience and love that the Lord has cultivated in their heart during their lives which have been spent before the altar.

Bottom line: I am grateful for the new generation of priests who are redirecting us to the correct rubrics of the Mass. I am also very grateful for the experience and the cultivated love the older generation still offers. As a Catholic, I look forward to our younger priests developing their experience and receiving God's love while I watch the older priests embrace a more traditional liturgical culture. Yeah, things are looking good.

Photo credit: Micropixel's

1 comment:

Adam said...

I too love watching a younger priest celebrate the Liturgy. It is indeed a comforting feeling knowing that a new generation of priests has such reverence and humility in the presence of our Lord.

Have fun at the concert tonight, I wish I could be in town to go as well.