The district canceling school due to snow has provided me with an opportunity to share an enlightening experience that occurred at St. Mary’s Cathedral during morning Mass.
Our Rector made the decision to celebrate the, “Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes”. Knowing that the Gospel slated for “Today’s Readings” was tough on priests made it easy to understand why that choice was made.
The “Optional Readings” featured, “The Wedding of Cana”, in the Gospel of John. I began to listen for a segue to the Sacrament of Marriage in the Homily since the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had proclaimed February 7-14, 2020 as “National Marriage Week”. Following are some of the major points that Monsignor made:
- I always prefer using the optional readings.
- The “First Reading” speaks of the “Motherly” dimension of God.
- I can relate with Jesus in that I am my mother’s only son as well.
- We need to heed Mary’s command and, “Do whatever he tells you.”
- I did just that when I gave up a lucrative career as a K-Mart manager and become a priest.
- Jesus wants to change our ordinary to extraordinary.
- We need to ensure that Protestants are aware that we do not worship Mary.
- Saint Bernadette was an ordinary girl from a not so particularly devout family, and that she was elevated by her encounter with “Our Lady”.
- Go out and, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do!”
Since married couples were not mentioned during the intercessions, the only references to the “Forgotten Vocation” was the mention of Monsignor’s mother and of Bernadette’s not so particularly devout family. I guess I should be grateful that at least the “Priestly Prayer for Vocations” was not prayed at the conclusion of Mass.
“The Wedding of Cana” was the beginning of Jesus’s “Signs” in the Gospel of John, and today it became a sign, (or in this case a “blue light”), to what I perceive is happening in the Diocese of Amarillo.
“Once let one idea become less powerful and some other idea would become too powerful. It was no flock of sheep the Christian shepherd was leading, but a herd of bulls and tigers, of terrible ideals and devouring doctrines, each one of them strong enough to turn to a false religion and lay waste the world.”G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter VI
I believe that Bishop Zurek has allowed, if not encouraged, the priestly vocation to become more powerful than the vocation of marriage. The Church has been given two Sacraments of Vocation to serve as a balance. The Rock on which our faith is founded is…
“like a huge and ragged and romantic rock, which, though it sways on its pedestal at a touch, yet, because its exaggerated excrescences exactly balance each other, is enthroned there for a thousand years.”G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter VI
There’s a voice in my head that tells me that I’m getting worked up over trivial matters and that making a big deal about our shepherd snubbing married couples during “National Marriage Week” is not heeding His Excellency’s call for love and unity.
Then it occurred to me that 500 years ago the Church in Europe had allowed this same unbalance to take place and the result was the Protestant Reformation and the diminishing of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This is when the voice of Chesterton once again resounded,
“Last and most important, it is exactly this which explains what is so inexplicable to all the modern critics of the history of Christianity. I mean the monstrous wars about small points of theology, the earthquakes of emotion about a gesture or a word. It was only a matter of an inch; but an inch is everything when you are balancing.”
With that thought in mind I have gone out and done what Jesus told me to do!