Saying the Same Thing

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Now that this morning's concerns have been expressed in a way that allows me some reprieve, let me restate them in a way that is more universal, more, if you will, Catholic.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV-Phil 4:8)

If what we are thinking about does not reflect things, then it is time spent in purgatory. It is so terribly easy to find fault with anything or anyone and so very difficult to articulate praise. But the better part is to look upon those things worthy of praise while working hard to correct those things that we would otherwise complain about. This is the Martha-and-Mary principle. Mary's better part always informs Martha's better work. As people living in the real world, in the secular world, in the world outside the cloister, our meditations upon worthy things prepare us for action bringing those real things to the people around us. Contemplation isn't an end in itself, or at least not entirely, for contemplation in the world must lead to works that change the world. As James would note, "Faith without works is dead." Prayer without works is equally dead. But works without faith are useless and futile--building a house upon sand. The two walk hand-in-hand supporting and informing one another.

So, rather than posting my complaints, as I did this morning, I should rather choose to post those things that will build up the body of Christ and allow all to see what a beautiful, loving, kind, and merciful God and Father we have who gave us so great a Savior as our guide and friend.

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Just so you know, I really liked your first post, although not for the reason you wrote it. I largely ignored the particular complaints that led to your writing and was thinking about how often people in general rob others of joy through those very techniques ... but about all sorts of things besides liturgy.

Dear Julie,

You are SO right. I commented on that before when referring to movie critics who not only disliked a movie but felt compelled to enforce that dislike on the whole world.

The use of terms like high-brow, low-brow, middle-brow are an instance of the same.

It is fine not to like something, but it is robbing people of joy to insist that they are somehow lesser for liking something you don't. For example, I don't much care for Thomas Kinkade, but I wouldn't spend all my time worrying about people who do (unless one of them wanted to decorate my house in that mode.) But there are those whose goal in life is to assure that no one be permitted the enjoyment of things they consider beneath themselves.

Thanks for the observation.



"For example, I don't much care for Thomas Kinkade, but I wouldn't spend all my time worrying about people who do (unless one of them wanted to decorate my house in that mode.)"

Or perhaps decorate your church in that mode???

What you posted earlier was not a complaint, it was an exhortation and a very well worded one at that.
Do not depreciate it, I think it has a lot of value.

Dear Jeff,

Thank you. But I don't live in my church--for the brief time I'm there every day I can endure that which gives comfort to others. However, your point is well taken--I might be able to endure Thomas Kinkade, who at least has a kind of vintage kitschiness, what I find more difficult are the modernist Churches with strange and unmeaning symbols etched into grey stained glass. But even at that, I'm able to give up my own comfort for those who are perhaps consoled or inspired by this form of art (the mind boggles at such a possibility). The reality is that I retain just enough of my protestantism to simply not care--I am so enured to bare wood and bare cross that even the most dumbed-down, the hokiest Catholic decoration is light-years distant from that mode. (And, please do keep in mind that I wasn't referring to you and the traditionalist movement here--who I believe serve a valuable purpose in the Church helping us to recall our tradition. More often you all do this by celebrating the wealth of the tradition and allowing it to speak for itself. One good traditional Mass (I've heard) needs no support in the form of carping--it says everything itself.

Dear Tim,

I am in the ironic position of realizing that my previous post could be seen as "stealing the joy" from some by pointing out their dismal modus vivendi. However, I do greatly appreciate your kind words and encouragement. And largely I agree, I was simply acknowledging that perhaps the first mode is one that a person making the argument would like to leave off after announcing the leitmotif.

Thanks again.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 20, 2006 2:07 PM.

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