Guardians of the Tradition

“I saw someone else who prayed with beads made out of bones from the spine of a fish.  Certainly, the devotion was not for this reason less precious in the sight of God.” — St. John of the Cross

Friends, I’m not going to add to the deluge of blog posts and tweets and op-eds about Traditionis custodes. I just want to remind you all:

The Tridentine Mass does not save your soul.

Birettas and chapel veils do not make one a saint.

The number of candles on the altar will not decide whether you spend eternity in Heaven or Hell.

Jesus didn’t celebrate the Mass in Latin, and you don’t have to, either.

Obviously, I’m upset by this new muto proprio. The Holy Father didn’t come to the conclusion that I’d hoped for.

But it doesn’t matter what I want. It doesn’t matter what Pope Francis wants. It matters what God wants.

Bear this in mind, my friends: we can refuse to do God’s will, but we can’t prevent His will from being done. No one can. Not even the Pope.

And what does God want? He wants us “to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” We can do that, whether we hear the Mass in Latin or English or Swahili or Esperanto.

Now, you may find the Latin Mass brings you closer to God, as I do. But nothing can keep us from God if we want Him. Nothing can keep us from God if we strive to know, love, and serve Him with all our strength. Nothing can keep us from God—nothing except our own sins.

I hesitate to say that God is testing us, because He’s always testing us. To be mortal is to be assailed constantly by the temptation to sin. It’s a moment-by-moment struggle against our own fallen nature.

The question put to us today is, at bottom, the same question we face every day. Will we choose gratitude for the things we have, or covet the things we lack? Will we choose obedience to the voice of authority, or will we rebel in the spirit of pride? Will we choose anger, resentment, and hatred—or love?

My friends, whatever comes next, choose to walk with Christ. Remain hidden like St. Joseph and little like St. Francis. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Do what is good. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you.

Be subject to authority, especially Church authority. Avail yourselves of the Sacraments as often as you can. Pray the Rosary. Read the Scriptures. Meditate on the Psalms. Bless the name of the Lord. Become a saint.

That’s all we need to do. It’s all God has ever asked of us.

The Church belongs to Christ. He’ll see to it Himself. Work out your own salvation. And, in all things, pray to the Father: “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

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