Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Traditionalists, Secret Meetings, and Being Spoiled

After a thoroughly enjoyable evening drinking homemade margaritas and watching Live Free and Die Hard at my friend's house (Casa Santa Ynes), the housemates went to bed and the visiting trads stayed up to talk.  What began as simple conversation quickly turned into a meeting of the minds of the LA traditionalists (all of whom, of course, belong to what I am led to believe is the only orthodox parish in the diocese), who intend to soon become formally recognized as a group, possibly a chapter of Juventutem.  The conversation and the company were both enjoyable, but I was reminded overwhelmingly of one thing:  I am so spoiled!

First off, I wasn't a trad before Summorum Pontificum, so I've never had to contend with being truly on the fringes of the Church, sometimes sharing that borderline with heretics; just about every trad I know has a fierce love for Rome and for Holy Mother Church.  Secondly, when I was in Steubenville, hard at work behind the scenes to bring the Traditional Latin Mass to Franciscan University, it was not because I was spiritually starving and had no place to go for the feast I so greatly desired; it was simply because I knew that it was for the greater good of the Church at large that the University, so known for her Catholicity, should embrace the holy father's desires for the Church (also because if Steubenville didn't adopt the TLM, many would take it as confirmation that charismatic and traditional are antithetical, which is clearly false).  But, again, it was not that no TLM was available; the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community was only 45mins away, and there were always people to carpool with.  On top of which, when the work began to get really taxing, they brought Ryan in to officially do the traddy job I'd been unofficially doing (and so much more) - which left me to just relax and enjoy the ride!

Then, upon coming home to Jersey, I found a home (rather unexpectedly) at my local Institute of Christ the King parish.  Once the novelty of this place being a haven of the traditional way wore off, I began to see my parish as very much like a small country chapel: We have enough families to remain viable, but we're still a small parish, with a small building, and only so much in the way of means, so even the big feasts are done on a smaller scale, and more humbly.  But it's still so beautiful.

         A related point is that, because my parish is a bit of a hike, I attend daily Mass at various local novus ordo parishes.  But because I don't belong to those parish communities, I simply pray there the best I can without thought of how to effect change for the better, because that's simply not my place (and makes praying a whole lot more straightforward, too).

The final element that has spoiled me is my involvement in the Spirit and Truth young adult community.  Not only have these people been phenomenal friends and a necessary support system for my Christian journey, but the group is contemporary in setting, and charismatic insofar as its leaders' personal spiritualities.  Yet despite conditions that might seem averse to traditional liturgical practices, I've been privileged to witness a grassroots movement towards the very things I grew to love by immersing myself in traditional Liturgy.  And I haven't even tried to draw others there to tradition, even by prayer; I've just united my heart to God and been patient.

What I realized upon listening to these new trad friends talk is that I have been so spoiled!  By putting me in a ministerial position from which I could not complain freely to my friends, He taught me prudence of speech even among my friends (not that these trads are more guilty of novus ordo bashing than any other trads I know and love)!  By putting me under obedience to administrators who were more hesitant to embrace the traditions that have stolen my heart, He taught me patience (because look at the progress that's been made, and without making enemies in the process)! By drawing my non-trad friends unexpectedly toward things traditional, He taught me hope (and reinforced the patience).

But most importantly, He's taught me to trust.  I've learned by now the way He works in me, and I am thrilled that he's not calling me to be a mover and a shaker at present.  He's just calling me to step back and love (and perhaps to smooth the wrinkles that even well-meaning zeal can cause).

And I couldn't be happier.  Spoil me and call me to simply love others all You want, Lord.  It's one of my favorite ways to do Your Will.  :)

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