Sunday, May 12, 2013

Destination Journey or Train Wreck?

¯Good morning, America, how are ya?! Say don’t cha know me, Jesus, Mary’s son? I’m the man they call the Word of God the Father and I've been Home 2000 years since the trip begun. ¯ (Sung to the tune of City of New Orleans).

All   A B O A R D !

Hello, sisters and brothers, I’ll be your conductor during this trip. Grab a seat and we’ll be on our way. Now I know there have been some tall tales told about what happens on this train and I’m here to set the record straight. Before we depart, however, it would serve you well to take note of a few features of this very special train:

Sound System – you’ll notice speakers placed strategically around the car and a console with buttons near your seats. There are options as to which type of music we’ll enjoy, but the stations we’ll be listening to are limited to the preset buttons. You've got your Gregorian chant – a distinct favorite of the Railroad Commissioner and always to be given preferential treatment – but there’s also a fine collection of ancient hymns that give glory to God. Of course, never underestimate a bit of Latin in the mix. What you won’t be hearing is self congratulatory, folksy music or Protestant hymns. Like ¯Soon and Very Soon, We’re Goin’ to See the King¯ or ¯You and I are the Bread of Life¯. In other words –heresy will not be offered as an option.

Food for the Soul– the priest will be offering the Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who are morally disposed to receive Him. What you won’t find is a self serve style, chip and dip arrangement with ‘consecrated’ pita bread arranged around a cup of Precious Blood. (No, I’m not making this up – I’ve been on that train before).

Sights and sounds – the beautiful but optional bells will be rung during the consecration lending an air of dignity and giving fitting reverence (and attention) to our beautiful ancient traditions. You know how you love antiques and the historical aspect of furnishings and homes? Well, take a gander at the antiquity and history of the Church founded by Christ Himself! It’s truly deserving of notation and illumination! What you won’t see are priests wearing clown noses during the homily, game show preaching or liturgical dancing girls. Again, I’m not making this up – been there, rode that train!

Holy choreography – we will be following the Instructions to the Roman Missal (GIRM) and the rubrics of the Mass. As a Church, we are fortunate to be relieved of the confusion concerning the proper practices surrounding The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMCs) – if they are needed.  They will not be bellying up to the altar before the priest has had the opportunity to consume the Eucharist or Precious Blood, nor will they be retrieving the reserved Hosts or purifying the vessels – everything here has a proper time and place. As it is the posture proper only to the priest (even the Deacon is told not to in the GIRM), the laity will not be employing the Orans Posture nor will they be using the Protestant sign of unity by holding hands during the Our Father. We find our unity in receiving Him in the Eucharist!

Good Samaritan – we will be adhering to the ‘love thy neighbor’ rule throughout this trip. So we might just find ourselves stopping to help give directions to a neighbor who has lost his way. It’s in the itinerary to do this as many times as necessary in an effort to keep everyone on the right track. Although this practice is sometimes labeled as judgmental, it is actually considered to be an act of charity and is Biblically noted as such.

Scenery – while we are on this trip we are not guaranteed sunshine and rainbows every day. At times we will find ourselves going through the dark, long tunnel of sin and death of the soul. What is promised, however, is the bright light of forgiveness showing us the way on the other side. Please find your way to the Penitential Car for a thorough cleansing - just follow the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speed limit – You may be surprised to note that this trip is taken at your own pace. Whether you choose the scenic route and drink in all of the sights or you fly through the stations at warp speed is up to you. Detours and such are also considered, as we all lose our way sometimes. Old style locomotive or bullet train, you will always find a well marked route to get you back on track, should you veer off the path. Of course taking advantage of these directions is up to you – you can choose to wander, a lost soul, should you stubbornly refuse the offered assistance.

Purpose of the trip – The Destination is the purpose of this journey. If you have properly followed the map -even with a few detours, the end of the line will find you at a most Wonderful Place. Just don’t be late for the final departure. If you do and the last train has run, you will be left in the dark – wandering for eternity, through a fiery furnace in the coal storage area. One thing is certain, no matter what phase you’re in, the destination won’t change just for you. Whether you’re a quick study or a slow learner the Engineer will not change the instruction manual or schematics. The concluding inspection by the Railroad Commissioner will be final.

Now, brethren, let’s get on with the ride. Please take note of the Guide Book frequently and try to schedule some gratifying layovers along the way. The journey is just as important as the destination because the route determines ultimate outcome. Now have a holy and fruitful trip!

Note: While the Spirit of Vatican II brought some severe misinterpretations, we have seen tremendous progress throughout the pontificate of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his Summorum Pontificum, Now, it appears that Pope Francis is taking up the charge for giving each and every Catholic the Mass to which he is entitled - and as Jesus intended. May God bless our shepherds!