Monday, June 29, 2009

The last five days

It's good to be back home after five days away; two of which were spent driving across the province and home again to get to and from our location on Kootenay Lake. Now that we are living at the coast, I think it's time to find a closer vacation spot, but then we wouldn't get to see family. On Sunday, I got to go to Mass with my sister Shirley at a little mission church in Proctor, where I spent a few years of my early childhood. This picture was taken by my sister (mine did not turn out). The old Church is in a very picturesque setting, with a walking bridge across a raging creek.

The old altar is still intact inside the simple Church.

My sister and I were the only traditional Catholics in that small little group. We wore our head coverings as we always do, and after Mass an elderly woman I used to know (Mrs. H.) approached me and we chatted. (She's the one in the blue shirt talking to me in the above photo). I remember playing on her farm as a five year old, hiding in the hay stacks and feeding her chickens, and watching the cows. She must be well into her seventies now and she obviously noticed that we are traditional Catholics, and she told me that she was very happy that Pope John XXlll, so long ago, had ushered in a new era of change for all Catholics, and wanted to know how I felt about these important changes. Our conversation went something like this:

Mrs. H: You know, the Church has undergone some very important changes in the last decades. Isn't it wonderful how we are now part of a living Church?

PG: Well, Mrs. H., just as we have a living God, we have always had a living faith and been part of a living Church. Are you saying that you think the Church was dead prior to the second Vatican Council?

Mrs. H: Well, the Church doesn't belong in a museum. It's good that we have gotten rid of all those things that stifled us and kept us locked in the past.

PG: Mrs H, the Catholic Church has a rich history of sacred tradition, architecture, religious art and holiness. Are you suggesting that these things are no longer important for Catholics? You are correct in observing that many of these things have disappeared from our Churches today, but did you know that it is through the misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council that much of these things were done away with?

Mrs. H: Well, I just don't think we should be living in the past. As I said, the Church is not a museum.

PG: We must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. There is much value to keeping our Sacred traditions alive. I love the traditional Latin Mass; the relevance of each gesture of the priest, all the sacred and beautiful prayers, and the Gregorian Chant of the High Mass. Those are things we almost lost, and now our Pope has restored them to all Catholics.

Mrs. H: How can you understand it? The Mass is so much better in English. At least I know what the priest is saying.

PG: Mrs. H, the missals have a side by side Latin/English interpretation. The prayers of the traditional Mass are so much more beautiful and prayerful than those of the new Mass. A traditional Mass is truly the place where heaven meets earth.

Mrs. H: Well, I just don't know. I like the living Church better.

Pray for Mrs. H!


Shirley said...

It's interesting that her husband would like to see some of the Tradition kept alive!

Anita Moore said...

At least I know what the priest is saying.

When I hear a priest in the pulpit quoting Marianne Williamson, I wish I didn't know what he was saying.

Funny...ever since we dumped Mass in Latin, it seems like we have a poorer understanding than ever of what is happening at Mass.

Cygnus said...

Sadly, there are millions of Mrs. H's out there. My parents, for two. :-(

Anonymous said...

I wish I had the wits about me to handle situations like these and express it as well as you did. I find it hard, when it is the older generation that seems to have become blind to what they have lost. This makes me sadder than when it is young people because they never got the chance to see "where heaven meets earth"
All we can do is pray.


Mike T said...

This was a remarkably amiable conversation. Either Mrs. H. is generally a very tolerant lady, or she has personal loyalty toward you (probably dating back to those long-ago care-free days.)

There will always be diversity of opinion regarding worship (in this valley of tears, anyway.)

paramedicgirl said...

Mike, I'm not sure what to make of your comment. Are you saying that Mrs. H. could easily have taken offense at what I said? I was just trying to speak the truth - to clear up the common misconceptions that people have about tradition and its pride of place in the Church

Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I think you had her at "Are you saying that you think the Church was dead prior to the second Vatican Council?"

She just didn't want to admit it.