instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, August 22, 2011

How do you get to Heaven? Practice, practice, practice

Ever have one of those Masses that make you think that, as practicing Catholics, we sure can use more practice?

The Mass I attended yesterday had bombastic accompaniment to sparsely sung Worship & Praise hymns. The congregation rose as one when the offertory hymn ended sooner than usual and the priest loudly said, "Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation." And that may well have been the worst homily ever offered sober in English.

Somewhere in there, though, I realized I was in the right place. I sure can use more practice, and being amongst the similarly imperfect frees me from the temptation to despair. As for any pride and presumption that might feed off the foibles of my fellow parishioners, I find they have a way of crashing down on my head before the final dismissal. And church parking lots are ideally designed for exorcising the spirit of vainglory.

Does this mean I'm also free of promptings to improve, stuck in the mire of mediocrity with my fellow parishioners? Not at all. Neither I nor my parish ought to be average. We ought to be on fire with love for Christ, and with the love of God for our fellow men. If my parish isn't, then clearly I'm not doing my part to enkindle it. Recall the saying attributed to St. Catherine of Siena:
If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!
If my corner of the world is not on fire, I can hardly blame my corner of the world. And while it might -- might -- be great to be part of the world set on fire by my parish, I can hardly blame my parish if I'm not. Do I not have the Law and the Prophets, not to mention the Sacraments and the Catechism?

No, I have everything I need to become perfect as our Father is perfect, right here in my parish. Now I just need to do it.

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