Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thoughtful/Three Things

It's been a weird week. 

First Thing

We went to Winnipeg last weekend. I went to a Latin Mass. 

I never want to go back to an Ordinary Form Mass again. 

I made some notes about the experience that I want to share:
It was a Low Mass, which is what I expected. They had little missals to borrow, and it wasn't hard at all to follow as it had a clear explanation of what the priest was saying/doing even with little diagrams to make it easy to figure out where we were.

I can't believe the sense of peace I came away with.

The long stretches of contemplative silence while the priest faced the tabernacle, faced God(!) and did what he needed to do. Sometimes I followed the text of what the priest was saying (but I can't hear, it's not for my ears after all!), but sometimes I allowed myself to fall into prayer.

The way you need to pay close attention, as the priest will abruptly turn or speak or do something that requires a response that snaps you back to the moment.

The way we are all equals, there is no showman or readers or dancers or anything else. We all face God, even the priest. He is bridging the gap, not acting as the cork.

The way the Latin responses rolls off you tongue, it reminded me so much of speaking in tongues, me not understanding what is coming from my mouth but knowing God understands and that's what's important. It's not about me.

The cries of babies and little children, and no one seems to mind because they are part of the prayer, of the silence.

The knowing I was connected, for that brief moment, to the Church Triumphant in a way I never have been before. This was their Mass, of countless individuals before me stretching back across time.

So I've been worried all week about what will happen next Sunday when we go back to our regularly scheduled Ordinary Form Mass. Next Sunday is tomorrow. We'll see what happens, I'll keep you updated? 

Second Thing

Remembrance Day was November 11th. 

I felt it very deeply this year. Not many old-timers left. If my grandfathers were still alive, they would have been part of those "old-timers". One grandfather fueled planes for the Air Training Plan here in Canada. The other served overseas and came perilously close to losing his life. 

That leads me to... 

Third Thing


The terror attacks. 


Pope Francis calling this a piecemeal Third World War


A lot has happened this week. Considering how peaceful I felt at the beginning, I am disquieted now. 

Time for another rosary. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite. 
2. observance of set forms in public worship.
3. any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.

It's become a weekend ritual of sorts. 

On Saturday, we buy both the Winnipeg Free Press and our local paper, without any hope of reading them that day. But on Sunday... ah, glorious Sunday!  

Once our Mass obligations are taken care of, the children have been fed, and everyone is more or less occupied doing what kids do on a lazy Sunday morning, that's when we pull them out. Armed with a cup of coffee, my husband and I spread out on the kitchen table for an hour or so catching up on the news.

The time is not uninterrupted. There are snotty noses to wipe, diapers that need changing (some more urgent than others), and boo-boos that need kissing during that hour. But in the hectic pace of a household with four busy children, those things are minor. 

We sit in a comfortable, companionable silence that can only be perfected in years of marriage, each engrossed in our respectful sections. My husband will scour the local paper, reading all the interesting tidbits in a small city where odds are you're going to know someone in the paper today (hopefully for good reasons). He also likes the opinion pieces, and has a few that he reads religiously. I tend to scan the obituaries, hoping there's no one I know in it. I realize that it might be somewhat macabre to be doing this, but it's been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember. Rachael will often come request the colour comic section, to which we will happily oblige. She will sometimes join us at the table, and other times she will spread out on the living room floor, reading Baby Blues to her brother.
We will, on occasion, break our silence by reading an interesting tidbit out loud for the other. I'll start in on the puzzles, only to end up ranting and needing my husband to talk me down from either scrunching up the entire page in frustration or purposely jabbing holes through the newsprint with my pencil and/or eraser. LONGFELLOW is my nemesis. And I apparently have a bit a temper when it comes to doing cryptoquotes and crosswords. 

It is the comfort of ritual. How it marks time, people, places, and presence. Rituals become a sort of placeholder in our busy while mundane lives. 

It was Father Patrick Peyton that said, "The family that prays together, stays together." We are terrible at this. By "we", I mean my household. I think it's symptomatic, in part, of my personal frustration at the Church. We did so for many, many years with the kids, especially in the evening. It was ingrained as part of the bedtime ritual. But we struggle with it now.  *I* struggle with it now. 

Why does my family's weekend ritual come so easily, yet our prayer-time ritual is so fraught with inner turmoil

Is it I don't believe? For awhile, I started to suspect that was it. But now I doubt that's it, because I recently took up praying a daily rosary. The veracity of my belief growing out of that simple devotion has increased in a very short time. If there was a glimmer of doubt, I think it has been effectively erased for the time being. 

Is it because I don't think I should transfer my beliefs onto my children, such is the popular notion these days that children should "decide for themselves" what they believe? I can say with certainty that it's not that. I firmly believe that as a parent, I have a duty to transfer my beliefs and values to my children. Indeed, the Church teaches that we are the first and primary teachers of our children

Is it because of my own inner turmoil about the state of the Church, her direction, and her current rituals?

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I think we're on to something. 

About a year ago, I procured the book "The Latin Mass Explained" by Msgr. George Moorman. The book was originally published in 1920 under the title, "The Mass: The Eucharistic Service of the Catholic Church". The blurb at the back of the book promises that 
this easy-to-read book reveals the What, Why and How of the Traditional Latin Mass [...] Many will understand for the very first time the awesome dignity of the Catholic religion and the rich spiritual significance of every element of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.
I personally feel this was a bit of an understatement. 

I managed to get to page 23, then I had to put it down. Why? Because I was angry. What he describes is not the same thing that I see every Sunday down at my local parish. 

We often hear, in Catholic circles, of the idea of "hermeneutic of continuity". What does that mean exactly? Well, I'm still sort of vague on that, but it's generally accepted as being the idea that the pre-Conciliar Church and the post-Conciliar Church just kinda... flows. That the Church was the same before Vatican II as it was afterwards, in a fundamental sense. The opposite of hermeneutic of continuity is the "hermeneutic of rupture". 

I'm not sure how anyone can know anything about the Old rite vs. the New rite and say the words "hermeneutic of continuity" with a straight face.  

or that?
Not only has the rituals of the Church changed in a fundamental way, but the meaning behind those rituals have been stripped out. In only 23 pages, it was very clear to me that the language, the actions, the postures, nearly everything about the New Mass either downplays or ignores what was central in the Old.  

So my inner conflict. I have no illusions that the Church was perfect prior to the change - it's not like we should go back to some 1950's time warp where everything was warm and rosy and fuzzy and good. But the discordance is staggering. 

What do I teach my children? Do I teach them the traditional faith, the faith that has sustained us for nearly 2000 years, with the traditional beliefs and practices, only to have them confused when we go to Church?  How do I navigate the difference in attitude and ritual? 

In the end, I don't have an answer, so I end up doing nothing. I shut down. I am doing my children a disservice, I know that, but I don't want them to experience the same gut-wretching conflict that I do. Or maybe they should. This is the reality of the faith. Is it any good to shelter them from it?

Post Script
This post has been difficult to write. Confronting my own doubts and questions and putting them out there has required a great deal of self-reflection. Why do I feel like this? Is this a heart issue or a head issue? Am I being too picky? Am I making things unnecessarily difficult? Or should I be a good Catholic and just carry on?

In the end, I have no answers. My only solution right now is to fumble through the best I can. 

Please pray for us. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Post About Nothing

I've been working on another post the past few days, but I'm finding it's been terribly difficult for me to write. The first half of it flowed brilliantly in a short span of time, but I've been struggling writing the second part. I hope to have it completed soon. 

In the meanwhile, we celebrated Halloween here a few nights ago. The kids went out trick or treating. Christina didn't have a costume because the box I had labelled "Halloween costumes" in fact had car seat parts in it. Drat! Much of what we had stored in the basement is still in a storage locker as we work on renovating, so I had no hope in finding them. 

The other kids dressed as... 

Bob the Builder

A fairy princess

A cowgirl

It was super cold that night, and all the kids had parkas on over their costumes. But they got a good haul, and with the next day being Sunday and All Saints' Day (and with the time change overnight = one extra hour), we were STILL late for 9 a.m. Mass.


Christina has never been into baby toys. Siblings toys and the contents of our recycling bin have always been much, much more interesting. We recently purged some of the extra medicine droppers we had kicking around, and tossed them into the recycling bin. She helped herself to them, then pulled a mason jar out of the box on the floor (full of empty jars waiting to go downstairs to be put away). 

Those few items kept her occupied for hours, hearing the "clink" of the droppers go into the jar, fishing them out of the jar, putting the 2-part droppers together and then taking them apart again.  (I eventually had to put the jar away as she was making me nervous possessing a glass container)

Homeschooling is once again going along tickity-boo. We had to pause back in September/October for awhile as we were all sick, especially me. But we're getting back on track, today finishing our map of North America while learning about Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego. 

Meanwhile, Joseph worked with Play-doh, in his re-creation of a Play-doh house he saw on YouTube the other day. 

Joseph took this photo himself