“It is not easy to appreciate the true meaning of the priesthood in a cultural context that only exalts whatever is based on feelings or emotions, that tells us to do only what we like and not what we should, that exalts what is fleeting and not what is eternal.”
“How much we need this year of priestly grace in a time in which we are experiencing the brunt of a culture that has no sensibility or appreciation for what is definitive, for what appeals to the truths that are founded upon divine plans,” he exclaimed.
This is definitive. This is a truth founded upon a divine plan. The liturgy, when embraced, runs counter to the whole "feel-good" movement. It is a battle that now rages in many parishes, between those who want to follow the soft, self-indulgent ways of many non-denominational churches and those who know we are called to a higher place.
I continue to think upon all the different types of Masses I've attended over a year's time. Like a stranger in a foreign land, I visited everything from the most liberal Mass to the most orthodox. I observed the responses of the congregations, the tone, and yes, the "feel" of liturgy. I noticed if people were engaged or not. I suspected many were there out of obligation, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but yet felt a twinge of sadness when I realized so much more was available to them if they only put forth some effort to understand what they were doing.
When I was a younger girl, before I left the Catholic Church, I would say I was in that exact same place. I attended out of obligation but I really didn't "own" my experience. Now I do. When I attend Mass, I know what is going on and why. I am studying the liturgy, loving its rich tapestry of meaning that wraps around me each week but yet is different. I love the liturgical season, celebrating the various points of our Lord Jesus' life, and remembering His followers.
During the years I was attending non-Catholic churches, I was in a different place emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Combined with a culture that emphasizes the indulgent "feel-good" mentality, I was hungry to find meaning, which I erroneously thought was missing from the Mass. It wasn't that the Mass had no meaning. It was my perspective that didn't allow me to discover the meaning and purpose of Mass. It was a perspective that, not surprisingly, was focused on my feelings.