Friday, August 7, 2009

On Control, Independence, and Marriage

One of the things I've enjoyed most about being home and single this past year has been the independence and flexibility.  I can make last-minute snap decisions as to whether I want to go out (and if so, where) on a given night.  I can drive forty minutes away to go to Sunday Mass at a parish where I really feel at home, where my soul is deeply nourished.  I can pick up and spend a weekend away visiting friends, and my only concerns are not making plans at home during that weekend.  Even in college I didn't have this much freedom.

But I'm going back to school next month.  And while it's fantastic that I have my own room, parking on campus is free, and a load of laundry in the washer or dryer costs only $.50, my life will have a new structure to it.

See, this program is an M.A. in Liturgical Studies, and the school believes that one cannot be Catholic and merely study the Liturgy without being steeped in it, and for that reason all students are required to live the liturgical life of the campus: praying together for Matins, Vespers, and Mass each day.  The Sunday Mass (on campus!) is explicitly the liturgical highlight of the week, the packet I received this weekend reminded me, so much so that priest students are encouraged to not have weekly duties at nearby parishes.  This is serious business.

And while it absolutely makes sense for liturgical scholars to pray together, and while I had known that this was an integral part of their degree program, I had forgotten.  Instead, I was getting excited about spending Sundays with friends from my undergrad who are in the area, about taking Sundays to explore downtown Chicago, and about assisting at Mass at such beautiful places as St John Cantius and the Shrine of Christ the King.

The hardest part is that conforming to these campus liturgical norms (as required in obedience even just to my vocation as a student) means leaving behind a favorite part of the spirituality the Lord has developed in me this past year: my adherence to the old calendar and living in the spirit of traditional liturgy.  That spirit will remain, but I will be thoroughly rooted in the modern calendar and practice, which is something I find extremely disappointing.

But as Anne pointed out over the weekend, this is simply another case of preparing for my vocation as a wife and mother.  When married, I will not have the freedom to do things my way simply because I prefer them that way.  I will need to do things in a certain manner for the good of my family, and I'm sure I will have to compromise even on issues I consider to be important.

St Faustina had mystical visions of Our Lord, in which He gave her specific instructions (for things like forming a new religious order or getting the Feast of the Divine Mercy put on the liturgical calendar).  When she took these to her confessors and superiors, they nearly always said, "You're crazy.  No."  (Not always in so many words, but they rarely believed her.)  She knew that the instructions Our Lord gave to her were good and holy and His Will, but even so she submitted to the will of her superiors, of those to whom she'd sworn obedience, and simply trusted.  And Our Lord told her how much He valued her obedience.  It wasn't until after her death that these particular things were accomplished, but one of the crosses Our Lord wanted her to bear was His unfulfilled desires.

And so I say: even if I must set down my joy in the glories of Thy tradition for Thy Will and the good of my future family, may Thy will be done on earth - in my heart - as it is in heaven.

1 comment:

  1. They make you take a vow of holy obedience, eh?

    Also: your laundry is a quarter the cost of ours.



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