All reverently bow and make the sign of the Cross as the Procession passes them. Young men solemnly carry the repidia and the Cross with honor. The Priest prays and the faithful respond in prayer with one voice. There are prayers, responses, songs, form, tradition, a sacrifice, and more! What is happening here? In a word: Worship! Everything makes sense in this place. Movements are ordered, worship is directed toward Divinity, the Trinity. The entire movement of the service is toward God’s Holiness. This is my refuge, my heaven on earth, where the Eucharist is. The ordered worship in this place is a refuge from the craziness of our modern world.
There is something wrong, something disjointed in our society. Things seem to make less sense as we excuse it all in the name of progress and modernism. Families are torn apart and marriage is now an undefined word. In our modern world we have been witnesses to many rapid changes: the downfall of the Christian Faith in the West, and its wholesale martyrdom in the East. The rapid destruction, demolition and redefining of sacred institutions such as marriage and family has destabilized society in ways too numerous to count.
Even history is changing! Our children are being taught to revisit historical narratives and reinterpret them with a constant criticism. We seem to be either erasing history or fostering a hatred of it. In this climate of rejecting all that is institutional and traditional, many have even turned to researching their ancestral roots as a way of giving context to their existence. The use of ancestry type websites is nearly that of pornography sites.
As many look for ways to contextualize and give purpose and historicity to their existence, many protestant groups are attempting to bring in Jewish customs, and others are revisiting traditions of the past such as liturgical hymns, but there are many choosing to go all the way, all the way to the religion that once transformed our pagan ancestors into Christians. This was the faith of our fathers; the Christian Faith as taught by the Catholic Church historically.
A Catholic is Sacramental and Liturgical. A sacrament is a mystery, something not fully able to be understand but at the same time, it is revealing.
So being a Sacramental Christian doesn’t mean you understand fully a sacrament or a mystery about Our Lord, but indeed that you recognize and believe with faith, without being able to fully fathom.
Sacramental theology lifts us up out of the silly conservative – liberal battle, up to a level of searching for Christ in the mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church.
The first time I had the courage to attend a catholic service; I was completely floored. As one who has spent my life in various forms of protestant church, I saw in the catholic service a devotion and piety toward our Lord I had never seen. I saw in action many things I read about in the Bible my whole life. But most of all, I saw the Sacrificial Pascual Lamb in the Bread of Life, given to the faithful every mass.
And there were questions, among them, how to contextualize my entire Protestant Christian life…At a point though, my desire to receive Sacraments eclipsed all my questions and I knew it would require great change.
To return to the Faith of our fathers would require that I count the cost and be willing to leave it all behind, as I had preached so often, so that I might gain Christ in a measure I never had before.
So many modern movements are built on branding and personality, but I was ready to belong in the body of Christ in a Sacramental way. I was ready for a profoundly heavenly experience in which the Sacrifice of the Cross is clearly portrayed as St. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:1b, “Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”
And in this, the faith of our fathers, I advocate for all christians of good conscience to come home, especially in these trying times we now live in. Come to where it all began, the apostolic tradition!
And as we see societal norms slipping away, let us look to that faith that once brought our ancestors out of the dark ages, the faith as taught by the apostles, the faith that proclaims every Sunday the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord!