Since these musings, I have effectively switched parishes. I mostly consider my local Institute of Christ the King apostolate my parish. But more and more, I'm feeling two tensions: the question of generalization (i.e., this is clearly best for me. Is it best for everyone?), and the divergence of calendars. These I will address now.
As mentioned above, it seems clear to me that, theologically speaking, the EF is superior to the OF. Not that it's perfect, mind you (the Second Vatican Council did produce a Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for a reason), but that it's objectively superior to the OF. I tend to judge liturgical appropriateness in part by the laughability factor: If an outsider were watching this, would they laugh? In the EF, it is very clear that the Liturgy is about God Himself coming down to mankind. Still, there is some validity to the fact that many are not reached by the EF who are reached by the more pastorally-friendly attitude with which the OF is often celebrated (by "pastorally-friendly" here I mean reaching out to meet people where they're at; I don't mean to imply that the EF is not pastoral). This then begs the question: is a greater amount of tradition and ritualism important for the arm of the Church in which I reside, or is it for the Church as a whole? And if it's for the whole Church, how much?
I'm sure part of my dilemma here comes from my background. I've been involved in Liturgical ministry (mostly singing, but others more recently) since I was ten. My last two years at Franciscan, I was on Liturgy Committee, a group of people who were chiefly responsible for the Liturgies on campus - keeping them in union with the desires of the Church, reaching the campus spirituality, and drawing our fellow students ever deeper into communion with the God of the universe. So it was partly my job to see these beautiful traditions and to bring them to my peers by way of the whole campus. But now I'm back in the real world. My Liturgical ministry is at an all-time low (about once per month), I've only just found a parish where I can truly pray (and where I'm not just running away from abuses), and I meet few who are dissatisfied with the Liturgies at their own parishes, which are mediocre at best (in my opinion). How much of my feeling that what I've been given is for the Church at large is the natural experience of projecting my needs and desires onto others, of thinking they'd be so much better off if they just did things the way I do?
This leads into my second point. I fight feeling cut off from the rest of the Catholic world because of the dichotomy in calendar. Generally speaking, I attend the EF on Sundays and the OF on weekdays, and I pray the Liturgy of the Hours in the OF. So I celebrated the feast of Ste. Thérèse de Lisieux on Wed, Oct 1, with the knowledge that my parish would celebrate her feast two days later, on Fri the 3rd. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but I have an extremely Liturgical spirituality. My penances and indulgences center around the solemnity of a given day (in gradations, ranging from a Lenten feria to an Easter solemnity), and even my devotions are somewhat cyclical, based upon the traditional devotions of the day. In this way, I know that I am in union with the Church universal (or at least clergy and religious), and I know that my religious observances are not just a private thing but are one drop in a vast bucket of Christians giving honor and glory to God, and petitioning Him on behalf of their fellow humans.
But the calendars are different. Some awesome feasts have been suppressed; some equally incredible feasts have been added. Celebrations have been moved - some far, some near. How can I live in the Liturgical heart of the Church if she is divided? Do I celebrate St. Monica in August or in March? Do I invite others to fast on Ember Days? Do I go to a more solemn Liturgy on Low Sunday, knowing that I desire to pray the propers for the Feast of the Divine Mercy?
I trust our holy father, especially on Liturgical issues. And I know that any process of change, especially one of healing, is painful. Well, I hurt. May it be for God's greater glory and for the salvation of souls. Amen.