Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Merton’s description of the congregants in attendance that day reflects his pre-Vatican II Catholic views of a primary difference between Catholics and Protestants:Imagine that - going to church and NOT THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF.“What a revelation it was, to discover so many ordinary people in a place together, more conscious of God than of one another; not there to show off their hats or their clothes, but to pray, or at least to fulfil a religious obligation, not a human one. For even those who might have been there for no better motive than that they were obliged to be, were at least free from any of the self-conscious and human constraint,...
After the Gospel reading, a young priest stood up to preach, and this was the part of Thomas Merton’s first experience at Mass that was to prove most revelatory for him. He found the sermon quite impressive.Tradition adds both vitality and force to the word preached - Fascinating Captain.
[...]How clear and solid the doctrine was: for behind those words you felt the full force not only of Scripture but of centuries of a unified and continuing and consistent tradition. And above all, it was a vital tradition:...
I think these points related. When we focus on self, we focus on the now - when we focus on God we look for vitality and force. I have written before here how if the church lacks the vitality and force discussed here, we need to look at our own lives. This brings up another point there.
Liturgy, tradition, institutional solidity can provide such things when we are not up to the task.
Maybe there is something to this old stuff after all.