August 18, 2007

Hospitality

Hospitality is a benchmark of a truly Christian life. Most of us are familiar with the story of Abraham's hospitality to the strangers, who were really Angels in disguise, in Genesis 18.

I was musing today (I warned you ahead of time!): Is there a dangerous point where hospitality may be extended to a visitor at the expense of your family?

The steppe peoples of Mongolia are renowned for their hospitality to strangers. However, I've read that the Mongolians are becoming concerned that there are so many foreign travelers now that their own means are being stressed in the effort to accomodate the visitors. Is it good to feed the strangers who will be with you for a few hours while your family is going hungry?

Certainly, it is wonderful to give to others. It is holy to give to someone else while you go without. But, I think there is a fine line between being hospitable and being reckless. I think the Mongolians are realizing this.

At our parishes, aren't we, usually, equally hospitable to visitors, as well as to our regular parishioners? Most parishes have some kind of hospitality functions set up where all are welcome: festivals, game nights, Lenten fish fries, tortilla bakes, dances, concerts, regular coffee after Mass etc. These are good things.

I've seen parishes, and you probably have to, step out of their normal "comfort zone" and allow something they don't normally do or allow in order to accomodate a visting priest.

(I better step in here and clarify before I get the dissenters trying to insert their favorite topic into this post: I am only assuming and talking about accomodations that follow the permitted rubrics for the Mass and Catholic teaching in this post)

I've seen visiting priests, suddenly (it's sudden to a parish not accostomed to it) break into Latin during parts of the Mass. Does someone leap up and yell: "You can't do that?". No, that would be rude. Most people deal with it. The sky doesn't fall in. And, he's a visitor so he can certainly be accomodated for one Mass. If the parish knows ahead of time that visiting Father prefers to pray the Mass in Latin are they going to tell him to go away? They can probably have the parish secretary print up some Latin guides ahead of time. If they know our brothers from the Ambrosian Rite are going to pay us a visit and they usually pray the Mass ad orientem are we going to be rude and tell them not to come or force them to pray the Mass in a way they are not accostomed to? I would hope not.

There probably are, sadly, occasions where a visitor who wants to do something entirely appropriate during the Mass is told in so many ways they are not welcome.

Accomodations are made, every day, around the world to incorporate cultural traditions into the Mass; often, with the full blessing of the parish priest and the local Ordinary. Dancing during the African Mass, Japanese lantern lighting at Japanese Catholic parishes, sweetgrass burning at Native American Catholic parishes, Masses in Spanish in areas where there are a lot of Spanish speakers, are just some of the cultural traditions permitted in various Masses throughout the world.

Undoubtedly, there is a lot of angst that accompanies these accomodations. But, most of us deal with it. If you don't like it, well, there is probably a Mass nearby that you would prefer. If not, I hope you are not denying yourself the Sacraments in your hardness of heart.

Why is it, then, that there is all this drama over impending implementation of the extraordinary form of the Mass? If we will bend over backward to accomodate visitors and people from other cultures in our daily Masses, why don't we want to be equally hospitable and open to the parishioners who are already in the pews week after week? The folks who give their time, money, effort and prayer to a parish. If a few of our brothers and sisters want the extraordinary form why can't we just deal with it? Hey, try it, you might even like it?! The Church is not going to collapse overnight because something new and different to our regular M.O. may happen. New things have occurred in our Church for centuries. It's still here.

7 Comments:

Blogger Fr. Andrew said...

Cathy of Alex-

If we will bend over backward to accomodate visitors and people from other cultures in our daily Masses, why don't we want to be equally hospitable and open to the parishioners who are already in the pews week after week? The folks who give their time, money, effort and prayer to a parish. If a few of our brothers and sisters want the extraordinary form why can't we just deal with it?

A priest friend of mine usually phrases it this way: "We must be as generous as is the Church."

If the Church approves of both the Life Teen and the Extraordinary forms, we must be supportive. But hospitality/generosity must always be based on principles. Hospitable Mongolians would probably still become upset if you (knowingly/unknowingly) upset the matriach, patriarch, whomever. Everyone could agree that hospitality has been violated. It is the same with the Sacrifice of the Mass.

I might have to borrow that analogy of hospitality for some fitting occassion/argument.

August 18, 2007 2:08 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Just as anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice (with no end in sight), anti-Latinism is a corrolary.

That's all it is. If it speaks of Truth, then it must be quashed at any means possible, ethical and unethical.

Which means ALL OTHER FORMS must be given a green light, especially if they are "all about me". But if they stink of eternal Truth, if it reeks of historicity, art, reverence, and holiness, then it must go.

Such is the world we live in today. Satan and his minions have been let loose, and they have infiltrated the Church we know and love.

So why are we so surprised that the Mass that has created so many Saints is being slandered?

August 18, 2007 7:32 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Fr. Andrew: I see you are in Aberdeen. I should try and pay you a visit sometime!

August 19, 2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Boy, Cathy, you sure have done a great job finding the newbie bloggers in this area. I will be adding Father to my list and will post something on all these new kids next week.

We need to give them some business.

August 19, 2007 7:46 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Hey...uh...Ray?

Yeah. Fr. Andrew really isn't "new".

I can't remember how I found him, but if you go back to his first couple posts, you'll see that both Veritas and I have commented. In fact, it could be that YOU found him, posted about him, and then forgot because he hasn't posted in a long time.

Try and keep up Ray!

LOL!

He does have a post explaining his delay. such is life.

August 20, 2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Hey, Ray, don't let Adoro beat up on you. LOL! I'd never heard of Fr.Andrew before his comment (sorry, Father). I'm ashamed of myself too since I'm frequently in his area of S.D.

August 20, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Cathy:
Over the summer, we attend a Native American parish. The tabernacle is surrounded by a large wigwam, the Blessed Mother is crowned in May with a small head dress and the Corpus Christi procession stops at various wigwams set up outside. This is pretty alien to me, but for the most part, the people in the parish are very devote and they have a very good priest. The cultural elements bother me far less than a polka Mass.

Ray:
Tough crowd!

August 20, 2007 3:34 PM  

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