January 21, 2010

The Fight Against Rigidity

Don’t you dislike joyless people? I do. Don’t you dislike and avoid people that insist on seeing the negative in every situation? I do.

We all know people like that.

Sometimes I think I’m funny but I lack joy. Sometimes I know I ignore the positive and hang onto the negative. I worry that I’m rigid.

My friend, Bede, was kind enough to share with me the hospitality of her parish last Saturday evening. Her parish is known in trad circles as “not trad”. I had that in my head and heart when I got there. I don't like to think of myself as trad but, I suppose, compared to some I am. Trad is not a bad thing but some of the trads I know are not always the most joyful folks on the planet.

Have I become so rigid and defined by the joyless that I have to consciously remind myself to see the face of Christ and the hearts of the Angels in my brothers?
I think so.

Ok, so church “in the round” is not my thing. I’m too weak to avoid distraction by being able to see others. I have trouble focusing on the Sacrifice. Is this everyone’s problem just because it’s mine? Not necesssarily.

The design of the crucified Lord in the sanctuary (I called it “Jumpin Jesus”) was not meaningful to me. Does that mean it’s meaningless to everyone?

The Tabernacle is in a separate chapel. Not my preference but, how can I know what was decided during the design of the church? I have to admit the Tabernacle Chapel is a lovely chapel for meditation. Ideally, yes, the Tabernacle should be visible during Mass but Bede told me many are in the Chapel before and after Mass.
Obviously, they seek the Lord and are willing to find Him. Me, I guess I have to have Him in front of my face. Would I go look for Him? I hope so, but, I’m not sure.

The pastor had kindly eyes and an obvious love for his flock. How can you fault that? The associate pastor was a true book geek; we talked about Kindle. How can you not love that?

I worry I’m becoming too rigid. I’m becoming, as Terry calls them,: “church people”-not a happy term. I worry I’m always looking for flaws and issues, rather than appreciating each person and parish for the honest gifts and love they bring to the table.


Blogger nazareth priest said...

I think it's a balancing act, so to speak; the times in which we live are filled with such tension and extremes.
The Catholic Church is meant to be a place of universality...of embracing all the different types of people.
The whole liturgical thing, though, is a real divisive place, even among the "orthodox"; you have the Marian orthodox who aren't necessarily interested in the Latin Mass (Ordinary Form or Exraordinary); the charismatics who are orthodox and Marian but don't like any Latin; the Extraordinary Form Catholics who eschew anything other than that; the Ordinary Form Catholics, some who only want chant, others who only want Glory and Praise, holding hands at the "Our Father" and a long, huggy sign of peace...
well, you gift my drift.
It's a tough time right now.
We just have to be patient, charitable, and prayerful.
And we need to listen to Pope Benedict because he is teaching us about what is most central to our liturgical life and our life in Christ.

January 21, 2010 8:56 PM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

I think that reverts like us have a tendency to swing too far in the opposite direction (from what we were used to) as a reaction but that we do find the balance eventually.

January 21, 2010 9:18 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

A truly rigid person is the person who stops worrying that she's being rigid.

What Cathy's not telling you is we had a great conversation after mass about the responsibility of attending your parish church unless that church has really abandoned the gospel.

Yeah, my church has got a strange crucifix: there's Christ crucified* but no cross unless you look beyond the crucifix to the wall behind it where there's an enormous cross. At least, I'm pretty sure that was the artistic intent. I find it weird, but it and other architectural considerations are certainly not a reason NOT to attend my parish church.

I think Cathy's more considerate and less rigid than she makes herself out to be.


*Crucifixes take a LOT of getting used to if you come from a Protestant background. How do all of you keep from breaking into tears every time you see one? B.

January 21, 2010 9:26 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 21, 2010 9:53 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Bede: I'm so happy to have you in my life! I never think of things like how the crucifix with corpus is "odd" to the convert eyes.

Funny. When I was an Evangelical, I missed the crucifixes but couldn't figure out why.

January 22, 2010 8:16 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Exactly. And if a crucifix with a corpus is odd, just imagine how incredibly odd it is to have a corpus without a crucifix!

I don't think I'll every understand how art works....


January 22, 2010 8:19 AM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

FYI: In the recent norms for the celebration of Mass, a cross with a corpus is to be on or near the altar.
Let's hope this makes a difference, no matter what the architectural situation is.
We are at the "re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross" which means that the corpus should be prominent; no matter what "style" the Mass is celebrated.

January 22, 2010 1:25 PM  
OpenID saintos said...

I'm less tolerant than I was as a protestant though I've always been a person to hold the line when it comes to truth over falsehood. I've wondered the same thing, have I become too narrow or too ungiving since become a convert? But then I didn't convert for wishy washy unorthodoxy, feel goodism or whatever. I had plenty of that from whence I came.

Read a quote this week in preparation for one of the simple apologetics classes I'm responsible to give and it said this, " traditional doctrine will always be accused by some of being “intolerant, no matter what..."

Being mean spirited is another thing altogether but I don't think you are, and I hope I am not, speaking here about that.

January 22, 2010 5:35 PM  
OpenID saintos said...

Bede, as a convert (former minister) I love (can I say that?) the corpus on the cross. I can't stand the "risen Christ" version. Annoys me no end. And the empty one, well call it a knee jerk reaction to my past but I've seen enough of it and don't want it in my Catholic life.

Seeing Christ on the cross is a continual reminder to me of all that he has done and is still doing for me. It makes me think of how we are called to "complete that which is lacking" and how I am called to value suffering in my own life, for his sake. It is so meaningful to me. No, I don't cry every time I see him there but I never fail to be moved whether looking at the corpus on my rosary or in the church.

Thanks for posing an interesting question.

January 22, 2010 5:40 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

saintos: As a grandchild of a Protestant minister, I am in complete agreement. If Grandpa Hopkins had lived out his full life, he would agree also.
In his church there was the picture of the Agony in the Garden. And in his study, a tapestry of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (which adorns out community room today).
I learned to love Jesus and His People from this wonderful man and his wife (my Grandma) who have been with the Lord now for over forty years9they were like parents to me and died tragically in an auto accident). But they taught me by word and example how to love Jesus.
Today, I believe they would be Catholics.
Thank you.

January 22, 2010 11:28 PM  
Blogger Sarah - Kala said...

I am a former Lutheran; been Catholic for 14 years. After I became Catholic, I found a cross (obviously w/out the corpus) rather offensive. Where's Jesus? I would ask. Well, when I was reading St. Josemaria Escrivas books I got my answer. He said, See that cross? It is YOUR cross." So, whenever I see a cross, not a crucifix, I ask God, "What do you want me to carry today?"
Love your blog.

January 22, 2010 11:57 PM  
OpenID saintos said...

@nazareth priest - thank *you* and may your Gparents souls rest in peace.

January 23, 2010 12:57 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Sarah: There is something to be said for the cross only (no corpus) if you keep in mind that YOU are upon it. I know there are religious orders that prescribe to that belief-carthusians?

January 23, 2010 4:19 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Father (Nazareth Priest): Great remembrance of your grandparents!

January 23, 2010 4:19 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

I'm less tolerant too. I don't want to be a protestant again.
When my blog administrator began to clap with the rockin' Mass music yesterday, I give him the death stare. Why do Catholics embrace protestantism? WHY?????
If you want to sing and dance at mass , I'm totally okay with that but warn me first and show me to the exit.

But those Traddies bite. They slap you upside the head with their official approved version of their latin missles. They don't embrace sinners. Heck they don't even sin! (like me)

I often wonder if I would have converted today.

January 23, 2010 4:36 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

They don't sin- like me

I meant- they don't sin- but unfortunally I do.

January 23, 2010 4:49 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

belinda: I concur about the "traddies"...and a lot of folks think we're like that here, too, (until they actually talk to us and find out we're just, well, normal/weird)...
I think it's a psychological issue; pardon me, I'm no psychologist/psychiatrist but there are certain traits: rigidity/inability to accept 'tension'/lack of a sense of humor/a false separation between what is ideal and what is real. They need compassion and help, no doubt; I do try.
But realize we're living a very polarized situation; being Catholic shouldn't be so hard...the extremes (dissident and ultra-traditionalist) create a very difficult environment for all of us who want to be faithful, devout, and normal.
Does that make sense?

January 24, 2010 3:12 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Father, I imagine- to myself that Jesus was rip roaring funny, but his humor was eclipsed by his compassion, his love and his miracles. Just guessing though.

Except for times of worship (I consider that serious business)
I imagine him being more laid back though never tolorant of sin- yet always ready to embrace the sinner. Again, I guess my way through Catholicism. hahahaha

January 24, 2010 5:22 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Everything I know about being Catholic I learned from Terry Nelsons blog.

Jesus wears Terry Nelson sandals but unlike Terry - without socks ;)

But to be fair it must be really cold in Minnesota.

January 24, 2010 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Owen said...

Well, as it happens, you inspired two posts in my return to blogging at luminousmiseries. If at all interested you'll find them here http://bit.ly/8QgNpV and here http://bit.ly/6mpsD3

January 24, 2010 8:26 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

belinda: Terry is a sure guide. No doubt.
And yeah, Minnesota is cold; here in Wisconsin, too.
That's why we have to have a sense of humor; otherwise you go mad or become an alcoholic! (Catholic humor here!!)

January 24, 2010 9:09 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>
Locations of visitors to this page