08 April 2009

Sad Events, and Reflections Prompted by Them

Please remember in your prayers two elderly ladies of my parish who died recently, and the men who are responsible for their deaths. One lady died of her injuries after being struck by a car while walking to church. The driver fled the scene, but was later caught; hit-and-run is a very serious crime, and he will likely spend time in prison for it. The other lady was killed by her brother, who is mentally ill. The brother is aware of his actions, though probably not culpable. This is very difficult for the lady's children and friends.

Please pray also for a man named Charles who has left the Church. My husband and I met Charles at a Bible study group last fall. We ultimately stopped going to the Bible study, partly because of the long drive to get there, partly because our needs for socialization with other Catholics were now being met by people we attend Mass with, and partly because of Charles. He had an obviously Protestant view of Scripture, verging on sola scriptura, and virtually every meeting of the group included an argument with Charles, whose insistence on reading Scripture without recourse to the Catechism or the writings of saints and orthodox theologians was both annoying and disturbing to the rest of us. I am a little sorry that we did not try harder to help him see the importance of Tradition, but he was very insistent on his view, and I am not sure that it is possible to change his heart at this point. We were not surprised when friends who still attend the Bible study told us that Charles was now going to a Baptist church, but we are saddened that a soul has moved further away from Christ and the truth.

This prompted me to think about a few things. My husband and I have decided that disaster preparation would be a good thing, since we live in a big city in an earthquake zone, and you just never know. We're slowly assembling our disaster kits with food, water, a good sturdy knife, and various other useful things (we will be sure to follow Sam Gamgee's advice and bring rope, as well). I have been thinking that, if there is room, I ought to have one book in my pack. I suspect that many of the people I know, if asked which single book they would want with them in a disaster scenario, would answer that they'd bring either a Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These are good answers. I, on the other hand, would bring my Liber Usualis.

Yes, I know, it's all in Latin and my Latin is rather poor. But I have gone through the liturgical year twenty-four times now, and I remember the texts of the Mass well enough to recognize them in Latin and know what they mean, even if I couldn't provide an exact translation. I should probably also get an up-to-date Liber, since mine, which I got for free, is from the 1930s, rather than being for the Extraordinary Form as it currently stands.

Still, it is more important for me to have access to the liturgy of the Church than scripture or doctrine. The Mass and Divine Office contain enough scripture to get me through, and I learned as much of the Catechism as I need for daily life when I was a kid. If I were flung into a circumstance where I might not be able to attend Mass or receive the sacraments for an indeterminate amount of time, I would desire the connection to the Church's liturgical life that praying the Divine Office and reading the texts of the Mass would bring.

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