The Consolation of Philosophy – Vatican II Liturgy

For the condition of our welfare is a matter fraught with care: either its
completeness never appears, or it never remains. One man’s wealth is abundant, but
his birth and breeding put him to shame. Another is famous for his noble birth, but
would rather be unknown because he is hampered by his narrow means. A third is
blessed with wealth and breeding, but bewails his life because he has no wife.
Another is happy in his marriage, but has no children, and saves his wealth only for an
heir that is no son of his. Another is blessed with children, but weeps tears of sorrow
for the misdeeds of son or daughter. So none is readily at peace with the lot his
fortune sends him. For in each case there is that which is unknown to him who has not
experienced it, and which brings horror to him who has experienced it. Consider
further, that the feelings of the most fortunate men are the most easily affected,
wherefore, unless all their desires are supplied, such men, being unused to all
adversity, are cast down by every little care: so small are the troubles which can rob
them of complete happiness
.” Book II Prose IV. Trans W. V. Cooper.

That is for happiness. Yet, I think sometimes we all can improve ourselves by applying the same logic to the local parish and its liturgy. Let us be grateful instead of constantly feeling as if there are greener pasture elsewhere. I myself often fail to see the good side. This is not to deny that some things are wrong, it is just to help us see the good side. It is about when to stop complaining and start creating more objective ways to improve instead.

For the condition of the parish liturgy is fraught with cares. For rather Mass said with piety but few are present to partake, or said in haste but with a large attendance. The atmosphere may be quiet which helps recollection but the conscience dirty by gossip about the priest. Others are grand with great choral music and Gregorian chant, yet have no crying children to disturb it – children being a favorite of Jesus. Some parish’s all follow the same customs of when to kneel and stand all the while saying the same prayers in time with the priest. Unfortunately, their customs are not those encouraged or dictated by the local Bishops instructions as to when to stand and sit. Other parishes all follow the bishop’s guidelines, but have no choirs to lift up the soul. The cares go on. One parish has a band, but many dislike it. One city parish has great financial strength, yet has a priest who is an acholic. Here the liturgy is said with perfection, but the homily is bland. There the homily is perfect, but the priest is inventive when saying mass. In one parish out there somewhere everything is almost perfect – except that the church is damaged from a flood and has no heat in the winter and is about to be torn down. A church with a great youth group, but no concern for the poor. A parish that supports the poor, but hates the bishops. Parish’s and their liturgy are a grab bag. They come with good or bad. A parish or style of liturgy will not give you happiness and peace only Christ in the situation that he is calling you to live in.

Yes, we may want to change our lot. They way to do this is not to verbal be resentful, but to being grateful for what we have and present objective concrete ways to move forward.

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