Monday, April 22, 2013

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Outside of Holy Mass, one of the key ways a lot of traditionalists socialize is the Church social which usually follows Mass.  Since most of us come from a distance, it is a chance to engage in fellowship with our fellow Catholics, encouragement, and networking.

As great as these events are, we need to remember that our actions in them can have a profound impact on somebodies experience of the Extraordinary Form, and I think we traditionalists forget that.  The majority of people do not keep coming to the Extraordinary Form simply because they find the liturgy beautiful, although it is.  That can get old, and it isn't what keeps people coming back.  People come to a Church because they enjoy not only the liturgy, but the community as well.  If they see a bunch of really holy people worshipping in the Extraordinary Form, they will link holiness with the Extraordinary Form, and will be far more likely to come back.  Even if they don't, they will still have a positive perception of the traditionalist movement.

We must always remember that the reverse is also true.  If people see nothing but a bunch of bitter and angry individuals, who spend their entire time at the social talking about how things suck, there is a greater chance they will link negativity with the traditionalist movement, rather than holiness.  Shouldn't they refrain from being so sweeping in their generalizations?  Of course they should, but concupiscence sucks.  It also stinks for you, who really shouldn't be so negative.  Considering this, I think all Catholics (but especially my traditionalist brethren) should keep the following things in mind.

-By your actions, you are Christ to this individual or the Pharisee.  Do you welcome and build up, or reject and burden by your actions and words.  Remember this every time you open your mouth.

-Know your audience.  Not everyone is aware of the distinctions you make, even if you make them with the best of intentions.  If you have to spend more time explaining your distinctions to someone than it took to make your point, perhaps you should simply talk about something else.  There's a time and a place to talk about things, just make sure both are proper when you do.

-Concupiscence Sucks.  As a result of our fallen nature, we all have our quirks and our faults.  Nobody is where they should be in regards to spirituality or living the Catholic life. Rather than criticizing, see what you can do to help those Catholics reach that point.

-There is more to life than *insert favorite pet cause here*.  Not everything at the social need be focused on this or that "Catholic thing."  Me, I love discussing baseball just as much as religion or politics.  Provided you keep it clean and proper, by all means talk about these things, they provide enjoyment.  Sometimes we need to remember that enjoyment is a good thing, and God calls us to truly enjoy life.  (Sin leads to misery in this life in the end, not enjoyment!)

-That being said, the liturgy and sacraments are always a great backstop.  Can't figure out something to talk about?  Talk about one of the prayers at Mass, or fathers homily, and what struck you about it.

-Be Happy Warriors.  Not everyone has been through the nasty fights like you.

-Their visit is our honor, not their privilege.  We want our numbers to grow, so the more, the merrier. 

-We aren't there because we are better Catholics.  Some Internet trolls (and not just traditionalists!) like to say that the way they do things makes them the gold standard for Catholicism, and if you aren't doing things like they do it, you are Catholic, but not super-duper Catholic!  I don't attend the Latin Mass because I'm a better Catholic. I attend it because it has a richness I do not deserve, yet God has given me that opportunity.  I share it not to confirm to myself that I'm above others, but I've been given a great thing, and my faith obliges me to let as many know about it as possible.

Just my thoughts.  Yours are always welcome.

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