Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi

As Catholics we are taught that the form of our devotion and prayer effects the very essence of our belief. It is central to our Catholic identity to hold firm to prayer that evokes a sense of the sacred and possesses a deep Christological nature. The Christocentricity of our faith demands that our focus is on Him who is our Hope. When we shade our gaze or otherwise divert it elsewhere we begin to lose our identity as Catholics in communion with the historical reality of the Church.

In today's world the average and some not so average Catholics have divorced themselves from the historical continuity of their faith. Even though we are nearing the end of neo-iconoclasm much damage has been done to our religious praxis. Polling Catholics you will find that their liturgical, devotional, sacramental and ecclesiological memory only extends at most forty years in the past. It is as if the Church's advent came with the utterances of the Second Vatican Council. Yet to be counted among the faithful we must understand the “now” of our faith with the concept of organic outgrowth and not pure novelty. Unfortunately this has not been the case in the past half century.

In an attempt to posit particular agendas such as the feminist agenda, the race agenda or recently the gay agenda, among others, the form of our devotion in the local parishes have been directed away from the Christocentricity of traditional devotions such as the rosary, novenas, or processions. To fill the void caused by their absence “praise & worship” sessions and at worst nothing has taken hold of the parish devotional life. The liberal (or progressive if you will) lobby understood well that if one desires to change the beliefs of the faithful one must change their mode of prayer. For this reason we see gender inclusive language in the liturgy, the condemnation of Eucharistic Adoration as a medieval error and the rosary chided as an antiquated pious practice suited only for the unwashed. In effect the dimensions of an authentic Catholic culture have been wounded or eradicated.

Perhaps the most difficult of all the common deconstructions in devotion is that few of them are centered on Christ but are humanistic in nature and thus become banal practices akin to bacchanalian cults that seek transcendence through cathartic practices or take the axiom of Orens et Laborem to a level of absurdity citing the pure labor of life as a singular devotion in an of itself. While it is our mission to care for our fellow man it is not an acceptable practice to do violence to the traditions of the Church to fit the mold of the particular cause of the day. It is not sufficient to exchange the rosary for anagrams or solstice celebrations found in neo-paganism or the “New Age” movement. Such transformations cause our eyes to focus horizontally on creation in opposition to the Creator and the heavenly inspiration found in traditional devotional praxis.

It is our responsibility as the faithful to renew authenticity to our Catholic culture. In the history of the Church never has it been the faithful who have perpetuated error. Rather the faithful have remained as such so to urge the clergy to correct the errors of the time. Therefore, it is our responsibility to approach our parish priest and ask for Perpetual Adoration presenting him with at least half of the hourly time slots already filled. It is our responsibility to ask for a procession in honor of the parish patron with


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