Patience in the Spiritual Life

Do you ever get frustrated at the slow pace of the spiritual life? We can sometimes say to God, “Lord, I wish I was holier… and do it right now!”

The first person we must have patience with is ourselves. We are all a work-in-progress. Consider which is better — a meal from a crock pot, or a meal from a microwave? Home-cooked or frozen TV dinner? We want things to be instantaneous, but there are no shortcuts to virtue or sainthood. God wants to make sure that what He builds in our life is going to be solid and firm — thus, He takes His time! Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

I like that. It goes with my program: Deliver the body (at mass etc.), go through the motions (which may be the best you can do.) Let the rest take its way with you — but not as passive, rather intently cooperative.

We must be patient with Him — and patient with ourselves. As St. Paul writes,

“I am sure that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion!”
— Phil 1:6

I like that too.

Advice to the priest in favor of mass-time reverence as opposed to helter-skelter celebration . . .

From the always helpful Fr. Hunwicke:

26 May 2019

How to move on within the Novus Ordo [post-Vatican 2

An admirable priest called Fr Harrison has recently asked orthodox Catholics [Romans wanting the best for themselves and the world] to revisit the Novus Ordo.

I offer some thoughts about what those who share Father’s instincts might do so as to go just a little way to meet Traddy [tradition-leaning] worshipers.

Some ‘stages’.

(1) Use only the First Eucharistic Prayer. Always. Even with the kiddies. Do this as your first matter of first principle. Even if you’re trinating [celebrating, saying mass three times in a day]. The provision of alternatives [take your pick of canons, central
part of the mass] was the main error of … NOT Vatican II, where no such move was even hinted at, but of the corrupt use of their influence by those who subsequently got their grubby hands on the levers of power. Without this gross mistake, other changes might, just possibly, have been just about tolerable. (After all, the Dominicans … and others … used a shorter Confiteor … had shorter and different Offertory prayers … ) [emphasis added]


Such advice is inside baseball to the hoi polloi — pew-sitters, great unwashed, rabble — but money in the bank for celebrants looking to meet the pastoral needs of these poor little lambs and little black sheep who otherwise may lose their way and go astray, finding themselves, not doomed from here to eternity, but having a hard time getting there in one piece.

Those in the field hospital, we might say, to quote the more or less duly elected leader of their and the world’s church.

Forest Murmurs: So simple

Should have been posted first here . . .

Blithe Spirit

A picture, in this case a cartoon, being worth lots of words, let this simple message sink in if you will.


From an English pastor of a Novus Ordo parish. He tried to introduce the top one but had near-“riots” on his hand. Did so with school children, who did not complain. On to a new parish assignment, where he will be “treading carefully” in the matter.

Personally, I keep the head down. Even top-notch pastors look out at us worshipers. I think, here’s to you, everybody! Said genially. of course, but not always. I know I caught a bona fide glare from one fellow with whom I had tangled . . .

Later: Oh, I didn’t notice. He’s had a fervently appreciated EF (Latin) mass monthly, on a Sunday at 5 p.m. So he has found some market for it.

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Love Thyself | New and Used Books From Thriftbooks

Have to endorse this message, has a lot to do with keeping one spiritually fit. Think about it.

Spiritually? This but also but specifically the devotion aspect. Seems to me you have to feed the good you, keeping the bad you at bay. Hence prayer and attention in general to your interior life.

An Argument For Latin Liturgy

Short, to the point, “not bound to a particular time and place.”

An argument for Latin liturgy is that it brings a sense of the transcendent.

By transcendent, I do not necessarily mean “supernatural,” but rather that which is not bound to a particular time and place.

For example, 2 + 2 = 4 transcends time and place. It is as true in the US as it is in Switzerland. The same is true for moral principles or for Revelation.

Vernacular means local, and Catholic means universal.

John Paul II’s neo-conservative Church consisted in universal morals and local liturgies.

Such a structure is doomed to fail. Therefore, Amoris Laetitia was not a surprise.

Good stuff.

A cry from the heart from a Jesuit brother: Priests celebrating mass, don’t improvise!

In America Magazine, words to the wise:

O priests, who improv prayers at Mass! Who give opening monologues to start the show! Who deliver closing arguments before the dismissal! Who make meaningful statements in between the “Lord have mercy’s”! (Lord, when we are not our best selves, when others do not receive the totality of all that we could be…. Lord have mercy.)

O priests who feel the need to make Mass personal or interesting or more spiritual than it appears on the surface to be. Who suddenly put the sign of peace at a different part of the Mass or change up in some fashion the standing and kneeling and sitting. Who do not want to appear as cold, officious church functionaries just rattling off words handed to them by a hyper-literal worship committee in some cold cellar of the Vatican. O priests, trust yourselves!

Trust that you are interesting and personal and spiritual as you are. Trust that the energy you exude, your presence, your physicality, your posture, your voice is spiritual enough. Trust that, and just say the words! Do the gestures! They are enough! It is like the old actor’s maxim: “Don’t just do something, stand there!”

Brother Joe Hoover, SJ, America’s poetry editor, goes on and on, analyzing the dramatic and gently skewing the offenders. Read the whole thing.

A blast from the pre-Vatican 2 past: Jesuit spirituality “unsuitable” for English, the Anglican Benedictine told Roman priests in France

These Anglican priests were taught to pray that way, most of them “abandoned prayer altogether.”

Some years before Vatican II, Dom Gregory Dix was, rather daringly, invited by Cardinal Gerlier of Lyons to give a lecture on Anglican spirituality.

In the discussion, he was asked by an unidentified priest whether the Anglican clergy were taught Ignatian spirituality.

Dix replied that it was the only kind that most of them were taught, and that this was very unfortunate, as it was a type that was very unsuitable to English people, so that most of them, having tried it without success, abandoned prayer altogether.

“Father, that is a truly Benedictine sentiment,” said the questioner as he sat down.

“That,” whispered the meeting’s chairman to the speaker, “was the Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus.”

Et mois? It was less a response from a continental than from a Jesuit, who was right on, Jesuit prayer being is somewhat of a soulless thing, or can be understood that way — systematic, grimly prosaic and punishing to its practitioner, laying on burdens and offering at best a modicum of comfort to him or her.

Grit your teeth and keep on gritting, that sort of thing. Of course, tell Southwell and Hopkins it does not breed poetry, keeping in mind, however, that the latter was an English product through and through and came to the Society an Oxford product and in the Society suffered greatly from boorish or at least unappreciative superiors.

To face the people or not to face them (saying Mass) . . .

. . . That is the question, given a quite reasonable answer by a priest writing into Fr. Z in 2016:

After my entry into the Catholic Church from Anglicanism and ordination as a Catholic priest, I approached the Archbishop about offering the Mass ad orientem.  

His guidance to me was to “catechize the people” regarding whatever I was going to do.  Since that time, at the 3 successive assignments I have had, I have periodically done just that.

Other priests whom I have served alongside have had varying reactions, some positive and some negative.  In my current assignment, the priest here with me also started occasionally offering the Mass this way a few years ago, and has noticed that his perspective on the priesthood and the Mass has changed.

Something worth pursuing there.

With the arrival of the 1st Sunday of Advent, I took the opportunity for a renewal of this catechesis of the people as part of the homily.  Currently, of the 13 Masses we have in an average week, 12 of them are offered ad orientem, though the last one may be shifting now in Advent.

Nuptial and funeral Masses may remain ad populum at times here, but that will be dependent upon pastoral discussion with the family involved. [boldface not mine]

I call that very interesting. It coincides with what Fr. Tony Brankin did, for instance, at his Berwyn IL parish, St. Odilo’s, as I reported in 2007 for Chicago Daily Observer. It was easy-does-it at first, gently ushering his parishioners into something old and new at the same time.