Saturday, May 07, 2016

Remedial work

What could possibly ward off the feeling of breathless insufficiency that shadows us in this season so filled with obligations we cannot keep count?  What could give us a moment's peace, some confidence and reassurance, and just what we need to carry on? 
You might laugh derisively if I were to tell you to put something else on your calendar in this month already rife with obligations.  But undaunted I propose two antidotes to what might ail you in these May days with all their crushing expectations.
First, to help you behold the face of God, in whose eyes we might see reflected our true identity and ability, I invite you to join me in an act of worship both novel and ancient.  On Pentecost Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 PM, we will have here a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, with our familiar prayers set to marvelous polyphony by one of the greatest composers the Church has ever known. 
It will be novel to all who have grown accustomed to the verbal, almost informational routine of the current form of the Mass in English.  It is an ancient and effective way to step away from the familiar idiom and into the more numinous and iconic work of worship, letting go of our expectation to understand every word long enough to make room for an experience of the mystery of the living God.  It will refresh wells you did not realize had run dry! 
Second, to fortify your identity and membership in the family of our heavenly Father, I invite you to join me in a work of filial piety.  The fifth Pastor of Saint Bernadette, my predecessor and the first Pastor of my priesthood, Father WIlliam Thompson, died last spring.  Cardinal Wuerl, and many of you, came for his funeral.  Because a year has passed, and now it is easier to find joy in the great going-to-God that is our hope; and because it is right that we, as members of the parish he loved and pastored, should continue our work on his behalf to make that same going, go well; we will keep the anniversary together. 
On Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 AM, I will offer a Mass for the happy repose of his soul, and hope you will join me in this work of mercy, in the Year of Mercy.  As we do each May on Mother's Day, when we remember our gratitude to one who has given us life, we find that we both enjoy and employ that life more fully.
To squeeze these additional events in among graduations and tournaments, exams and excursions, might seem unreasonable, if not downright impossible.  But like the daily bread we beg each day from our Father, without time given over to God for the elemental work of worship, we cannot expect to have strength for the journey. 
The two gratuitous acts of gratitude may seem extraneous or extravagant, but offer you and me an opportunity to fortify the intrinsic and indispensable communion of our very being.  Pass them up, and you'll probably survive.  Plunge into them, and it is far more likely that you will thrive.

Monsignor Smith

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