Thursday, July 18, 2013

Youth, Liturgy, and Serving the Poorest of the Poor

There was an article in our diocesan paper. It is about the World Youth Day pilgrims who are doing a week of service in Brazil prior to the events. I thought it was very good that young people are willing to go to a country that is not exactly safe, and work among the people who not only need physical help but spiritual help due to years of Marxist governance (and military rule, but the worst lot is the Marxist-influenced rule...) and liberation theology.

Fr. Adolfo Nicholas, a Jesuit priest, preached at the opening Mass, and explained that the parable of the Good Samaritan is about the secrets of our faith. The reporter summed up his point in one section, and said "some people want to hold on to ancient traditions 'which say nothing to young people. And many young people don't come to church and the older people say, 'They have no faith.' But I say, 'Yes, they have faith. Look at their hearts. There you will find it."

Should I, as one with a veneration for the Tradition passed down through the generations, feel defensive? These comments feel like slams against the Extraordinary Form and the proper and most dignified celebrations of the Ordinary Form. Now 'feelings' don't matter. But Jesuits are not known for their love of Solemn High Mass, and today, are more known for dissidence and heresy.

I daresay that the youngsters learning to serve the Extraordinary Form at Guardian Angels here in Louisville, and their siblings in the congregation, disagree. They might not readily be able to explain the symbols and tradition when called upon. But, Catholicism is nothing without Tradition! It is part of the holy and apostolic faith, guided, guarded and governed throughout the world by our priests and bishops. Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. I will go unto the altar of God, for God gives joy to my youth. 

These men are who Fr. Nicholas will be shocked by
I also have issues with his definition of faith, if one examines the Catechism of the Catholic Church. St. Paul in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews explains, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

By faith, according to Dei Verbum, the constitution on Sacred Scripture of the Second Vatican Council, man submits his intellect and will to God.

Our Blessed Mother is the most perfect embodiment of the virtue of faith: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word."

Now, it is true, faith is within us in a certain understanding: the Catechism  says "Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him." (original emphasis). The passage follows up to say, again referencing Dei Verbum:
 "Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.'
Of course the priest is right: contact with the poor should surely set our hearts afire for the Lord.

But, back to the original point, that these young people who are not in church have faith. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen said that, "The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host." Cardinal Burke has touched upon this in the past few years, in his book and elsewhere; he has repeatedly made reference to the "Divine Love made Flesh." If they truly have faith, then I must ask why they are not in church assisting at the Holy Mass?

The sacraments are visible signs of the invisible workings of the grace of almighty God. Hence, our participation in the sacramental life in the Church is a visible and public witness to our faith in Our Lord and in His most precious gift: His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, preserved and represented in the sacred liturgy. This is precisely why it is such a scandal to see pro-abortion and pro-same-sex 'marriage' politicians receive Holy Communion...they deny the faith yet they seem to make their faith manifest!

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