Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Non nobis, Domine

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory
When I preach, when I celebrate the Sacred Liturgy, when I appear in public as priest, I am more than a little afraid, I know that what I say has impact for good or ill. Often what I think is good does ill, I am a servant and an unprofitable one at that. There are couple of interesting post from an American women here and here, she speaks about losing her faith, she compares what she hears at Mass on Sunday and the Popes interview and in the dichotomy wants to run from the Church.

All priests are more conscious of their failures rather than their successes, of the family who comes to Mass for a while and gives up the day their child is baptised. of the child who makes their first Communion and Confession but never their second, or those who treat Confirmation as a graduation ceremony that marks the beginning of their lapsation, in the Confessional one is left wondering if one is asking too little or sometimes too much from a penitent, or whether the penitent will return.

The lady in who writes these two posts is right to be dissatisfied with her priest, she is actually has a duty to expect him to be a saint, a duty to be frustrated that he is not Christ but rather than running from the church she needs to have the spiritual maturity to show the poor devil a bit of compassion. It isn't the priest but Christ who comes to save the world, if he is fortunate on a few occasions in his priesthood, when he doesn't get in the way, he might be the occasion of Grace, even a great outpouring of God's Grace.

This is the reason I love the old Rite, why I celebrate Mass facing the same direction as my people, why I think vestments are important, why I prefer hearing Confessions behind a grill, why, if there is a choice between the words of the Church and mine or others, I prefer the Church's words. This is why I question my practice of preaching at every OF Mass I celebrate.

It is Jesus who brings Salvation, not the priest, bishop or pope. A priest's spiritual maturity comes when he realises he is an unprofitable servant. I have sympathy with this woman but something seems to have gone awry when flawed, sinful human beings are given a place where they can become a barrier rather than a bridge between God and his people. A mature Catholic is one who realises the Church is God's not ours, and everything depends on him, not us.

The problem comes when we cannot perceive the supernatural and its importance.

15 comments:

nickbris said...

The news this morning was mainly about Nairobi and the terrorist attack.A Sikh man was being interviewed and he was asked why he went back in after getting out safely,he said he should have stayed out but decided to Put Himself in the "Hands of God' and see if he could help others.

There really are more good people about than bad

Roses and Jessamine said...

What a beautiful post, Father. Thank you.

Deo volente said...

Tu es sacérdos in ætérnum, secúndum órdinem Melchísedech. Ad multos annos!

John Nolan said...

Father, if you didn't preach at an OF weekday Mass it would be all over in a quarter of an hour. The EF Low Mass with the Leonine prayers takes twice as long to read.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Years ago, when I occasionally had the opportunity to pop in to a church for a weekday Mass (I speak of the TLM) I would sometimes begin to feel a bit annoyed when the celebrant took off his maniple and addressed the congregation with a few timely words. Why ? because I foolishly valued my time as being more important than hearing Mass, which is so much better with a sermon, however short.

It was all part of getting to understand my Faith better.

Pétrus said...

Father - excellent post.

Any chance you could add "sharing buttons" to your blog so we can share on twitter, Facebook etc?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Petrus,
Does blogger allow you to do that?

Bob Brookes said...

A good Priest who really loves Christ and tries to bring Him to the faithful by his words and reverent Liturgy will always inspire.
It is a shame that so often it is an effort to concentrate on Christ's presence and ignore the many distractions in the way that Holy Mass is celebrated in many parishes.
Thank God for priests like yourself.
God Bless you.

JARay said...

I agree with those above who congratulate you on this post Father. Well said!
One point though, I do not have anything to do with Facebook or Twitter so I do not see any need to bring them into the issue.

GOR said...

As Lucio Brunelli pointed out in a recent article on Terre d’America, it seems Francis is taking to heart the example of Jesus with the woman taken in adultery. Then, it was the Jewish ‘intelligentsia’, the Pharisees and Sadducees who knew their ‘catechism’ - the Mosaic Law - that condemned her. It was a test to see if Jesus was a ‘traditionalist’ and would uphold the Mosaic Law about stoning an adulteress – which I doubt had been enforced for a long time.

But Jesus turned the tables on them, as if to say: “Who am I to judge?” (sound familiar?). He didn’t condemn her, but in His words “Go and sin no more” He showed mercy without approving the behavior. That, to me, is the essence of Francis’ approach.

And if we find fault with that, are we not finding fault with Jesus himself – like those Pharisees and Sadducees…?

GOR said...

Oops, my last comment should have been on the previous post.

As to preaching, I could do without it at daily Mass, as in the EF. Also I believe we should get back to ‘catechizing’ in homilies - not ‘Bible Study’.

People need to be instructed in the truths of the Faith – the Commandments, Dogmas, Sacraments, Mysteries, Precepts of the Church, Sin and Redemption, etc.

But even that only reaches those who are present at Mass – a minority of those baptized in the Faith – but they, too, needs instruction.

Sonia G said...

As others have said already, that is beautifully put. I think Pope Francis will never please all people all the time, as discussion on your blog shows, but those who think of decamping to the Orthodox churches or SSPX are wrong, it is God's church not the Pope's and Christ's message remains the same. As you say, it is Jesus who brings Salvation not a priest, bishop or pope.

I rather like homilies but I think they should be about helping to convey the words of the Church and inspiring people to live a life in accordance with Christ's teaching, not about the priest expressing his own views on anything.

Hermit Crab said...

Have you seen this blogger's answer the American lady's doubts about the Church?

http://www.harvestingthefruit.com/when-god-says-run/


viterbo said...

If Rome has been seeking a more impoverished Bride of Christ it hasn't any need to look hard. The 'unity' of our Catholic worship seems little more than disparate cultures drawn under an imperial banner of imposition. But then Christ is Christ; the Truth promised that the Church He founded upon Peter would not be defeated, had Heavenly, Eternal protection. Like St Peter, it may fall into triple denial at the most crucial moments, or be chastised by Pauline puritanism, but it is the Church which first declared the Truth of Our Lord - to whom shall we go? - and to whom/which the Keys of the Kingdom are given - "the Kingdom of God, Behold, is among you...I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you (parousia)...Take this all of you and eat, This is My Body, which is given up for you." My local parish is spiritually poor. The Church is a school hall basically. The Sanctuary is an imaginative space where the odd liturgical dance pushes aside the altar table. One weekday Mass there was, for the celebrant, the visiting Bishop on his lonesome. The lay congregation was just myself. Where two or three are gathered. The Bishop, suffering from a sore throat, exhaustion and hay fever, suggested to his lay congregant to do the first reading and the responsorial psalm. In this old Church where some former parish council had ripped out the marble altar, torn up the altar rail, and disappeared the confessional, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass quietly, in poverty, occurred, Our God condescending to be present because of His Love and 'delight to be with the sons of men.' Lord have mercy.

Let’s keep praying that the pastoralist party humbles itself to take up residence once again upon the rock of Doctrine, to make the Church strong in unity of mind and application. "I will be with you until the close of the age." We should strive to make it evident to one and all that Our Lord IS with us until the close of the age.

mike keen said...

Father great post, I am glad you did not give up your blog.

Followed the link to the American lady's blog, agreed with a lot of it.

Also, followed the link provided by Hermit Crab, great piece, thank you for the link.

I think what has been missing from the Church is debate about everything.