Third Sunday of Easter
Here I am, lying in bed in my Chris Osgood jersey and Red Wings sweats (I am in a state of hockey mourning until playoffs are over) and I am reading my blog feed reader (if you knew how many blogs I follow your head would spin, speed-reading helps a lot). Did I mention I am exhausted from the busy weekend with the three-year-old nephew? We took him to the zoo today (lots of fun) and he had a blast running us around from habitat to habitat. He also loved picking up sticks. I am glad that I can still stick-sword fight as well as the rest, though he did stab me good a few times. I got owned by a 3 year old.
Moving on …
As I am putzing, I find this article from one of the priest-blogger I follow and it sparks memories in me.
Now, I am not going to make this into a post about female altar servers, why or why not? Each side has equally valid reasons for believing and practicing what they do. My stance: So long as they are reverent and attentive, go for it. So long as the girls understand that this is NOT a way to “break the stained glass ceiling” of Holy Mother Church by becoming mini-priestesses, they can do it but don’t expect special treatment. I was known as a sort of drill sarge when I used to train the kids (10 years of experience with grades 4-HS) but darn it, they knew what they were doing and they did it well. That and I like to think the kids liked me. Some even wrote me letters when I was in the convent. The only ones who did not like me were the ones who did not do what they were supposed to and who did not show up as they had promised to do (they all signed a contract of sorts promising basic things to be involved). I’ll admit, I had my favorites but those kids were the ones that were the most faithful and the most reverent. I did not practice nepotism or anything like it. I just knew the kids who would always do right by what was required of them.
Anywho, if that did not get my position across, nothing will. I know, a traddy Catholic lady who likes female servers. *SCANDAL GASP* Get over it. I still think TLMs should be male-only. And I plan on resuming wearing a mantilla (it arrives tomorrow in the mail!!!!!!!) There. Sated?
I really do trace the fostering of my vocation and “love affair” with Christ to the steps of the altar. For 10 years, I knelt at His feet literally in the person of the priest. For 10 years, I was a couple feet from the greatest miracle in all of creation (God Himself descends from Heaven and becomes present substantially under the accidents of bread and wine) right when it happened. I saw and heard everything up close. I fell in love.
Some people met the love of their life at school. Others at a gathering with friends. Others on the Interwebz. I met the love of my life in the hands of a priest.
When I trained the servers, I reminded them repeatedly of at what great miracle they were assisting. How when they served Mass, they were assisting the priest who acts in persona Christi, the priest is Christ (don’t be getting all nit-picky with my theological semantics here, I am tired). I reminded them that what they do is a PRIVILEGE not a right, as some persons see it. I reminded them that they ought to serve every Mass with the same love and devotion as if they were at the first Mass at the Last Supper. I taught them to bow at the elevations (I still see some do it though for some sad reason, it has gone away). I taught them that they were role models for all who saw them silently and reverently assist the priest. To be lackadaisical and inattentive reflects badly on not just themselves and the parish but also on the Church. When they donned those vestments, they became a representative of the young Church to visitors and non-Catholics.
I tried to teach them, to instill in them, just a bit of the deep love I feel for Christ in the Eucharist. I tried to instill in them just a bit of my love for Christ in His priests. I always tried to teach them to respect the priest and to always do as he instructed (down to the nifty hand signals for various things). I tried to instill in them some sense of the sacred that is soooooooooo lacking nowadays. My kids (that’s just what I would call them) knew how to genuflect, darn it! They were down on the right knee with backs straight as soon as they passed the tabernacle. They also knew that one bows to the altar and genuflects to the tabernacle. They also knew why the difference. Some even would follow how I try not to turn my back on Christ in the tabernacle. it can be hard but it’s possible most times.
Basically, what my exhausted self is trying to say is this: my love of Christ was fostered as an altar server. It has been a penance to not be serving as I used to but things happen for a reason and my pastor allows me to serve every once in a while. Not serving Triduum was truly a penance because they were my favorite Masses at which to emcee.
I think many of the problems in our Church (liturgical abuse, heterodoxy, etc.) and our society (contraception, abortion, same-sex “marriage,” etc.) arises from one fundamental thing (at least one very important fundamental thing): a (universal) loss of the sense of the sacred and reverence for Truth (okay, that was two, w/e). If you compare eras in the Church and the world to the “modern” day, there will be a glaring difference staring you down: nothing is sacred nowadays. Everything is profane. Transcendence or a sense of the transcendent has been lost to an extreme immanence and temporality that it’s caused a seismic shift for the worse in the world.
While Holy Mother Church herself may not be guilty of it, some of her members are. Case in point (Imma get nasty emails for this one): the upcoming and VERY MUCH needed investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Something happened in many of these congregations (not necessarily with all of the individual sisters) where Truth was warped, twisted, molded, and deformed to fit one or another agenda. As a result, theologies, philosophies, and practices that should have NEVER become part of the tradition of any upstanding Catholic religious congregation (let alone group) seeped in.
It’s being decried as a witch hunt. Pah. It’s only a witch hunt if there are witches to be found. Basically, it’s only an inquisition if there are issues that need ironing out. If there were no issues, the Church would not be investing all these resources and man-hours into this endeavor. It’s not to punish but to admonish, like any good mother would her erring child.
All right, I could go on but I am falling asleep and I have Mass in the morning! Have a great week everyone!