Life is full of frustrations, many of which will have been increased or aided by the computer that is displaying this post to you.
Young children, used to their lives being ruled and facilitated by their parents, also have a tolerant, if not fatalistic, outlook on the world they live in: they are rarely masters of their fate and, in consequence, are usually quite happy with life as they experience it (parents, please forgive me for eliding the host of temper-tantrums, hissy fits and incomprehensibly-sourced sulks that you have to put up with; just remember the children playing with the cardboard boxes that the expensive, but now discarded, toys originally came in – I think you get the picture).
The problem lies with adolescents, who are starting to take control of their lives and have responsibility for its successes and failures, but who cannot yet conceive that things rarely go to plan in this sub-lunar sphere.
As adults, we have learned, through long experience, to greet the set-backs and delays that dog our lives with some small degree of equanimity; life is rarely a bed of roses, and even when it is, the thorns scratch us as we recline upon it. If we do not learn that life is about not sacrificing the obtainable good at the altar of the unobtainable perfect then we will have little joy or longevity in our relationships.
We all have weak spots, and all fall down from time to time. Especially in things that matter to us. And, as Catholics, especially in matters of the Faith.
Those wanting to remake the Church in the image of the fads of the last century are a typical example of this: one can expect toys to start describing parabolas from prams if there is a hint of Latin, or someone has the temerity to suggest that “Faith of our Fathers” might be a fitting hymn for a Mass on 22 June.
Unfortunately, this tendency is not limited to the modernists. In many ways those of us in favour of tradition can be even less ready to stomach imperfections in the rites that we attend: gather any group of traditionalists together and the group will fracture quicker than you can say “Reformation” into those who insist on the 1962 books, those who throw a duck-fit if they hear St Joseph’s name in the canon, those who yearn for the calendar before Bl Pius XII let Bugnini start mucking around with Holy Week in 1955 and so on. People get frightfully upset if the Mass that they have heard isn’t “right”.
A further example of this tendency can be found in the latest statements from the Wimbledon Papacy, which have been reported on Rorate Cæli. The talk is of a new motu proprio offering the SSPX a way back in to full communion with the Church predicated only on acceptance of the Catechism, putting aside questions about the state of the Church in the wake of VII. This solution would seemingly satisfy a large part of the SSPX faithful, whose problem is with the praxis of the Church, not its doctrinal formulations (after all, ++Lefebvre felt able to sign up to the documents of VII and, as anyone can tell you, they are fairly anodyne). This is seemingly not sufficient for +Williamson, who wants Rome to submit to the magisterium of the SSPX and will settle for nothing less (I may be doing him a disservice if any of our readers are familiar with the goings on in the SSPX milieu and are willing to write something for us on the subject, then please get in touch via the form on the page marked “about this blog”).
These divisions only serve to weaken the traditionalism and fail to see an essential point – we should not presume that we can make the world perfect by our own efforts, we can, at best, be no more than instruments of God’s will (that is not to say that we should not try, only that we should not throw over our works if they don’t meet our wholly unrealistic aspirations: we are always in danger of making idols of our wishes, no matter that they appear to us to be orientated towards the greater glory of God, that is, after all, something for Him to decide).
We need to take the opportunities proffered to us to gain a glimpse of God’s glory here on Earth in the traditional Mass (and, if one is very lucky, in the [very] Ordinary Form) and learn not to be irked by imperfections. Most importantly of all, we need to give thanks for the priests that serve us, no matter how imperfectly, be friends to them and pray for them. Let us make the Anima Christi our prayer for them and for each other:
In Newman’s tanslation:
Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
Body of Christ, be my salvation;
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains;
Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
O good Jesus, listen to me;
In Thy wounds I fain would hide;
Ne’er to be parted from Thy side;
Guard me, should the foe assail me;
Call me when my life shall fail me;
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end.