Rorate Caeli

Tradition must also learn how to show a Kind and Gentle Face

You are wandering through a city filled with historical landmarks. You enter a beautiful church that you had never seen before. As you admire the interior, the priest sees you kneeling, and comes to invite you to a little gathering they are having in an adjoining hall.

"But Father," you say, "I'm just someone passing by, I don't want to bother you." "No," he says, "you must come! Must I force you?"

The gathering is quite nice, sandwiches and beignets done by women of the community, in honor of a group of people who help in the church. Father makes sure you eat something. He also gives you a booklet on the building. "It's a gift, take it."

You tell him, "Father, I'd never received this kind of welcome in a church before." "Good," he says, "now we have a new friend."

This old Franciscan friar had just celebrated a Paul VI mass, just before you entered the church. "Why," you think to yourself, "have I never seen anything even resembling this level of welcoming of a complete and utter stranger in a traditional community, even after visiting so many around the world? Why does it seem, at least in my experience, that we can't make the effort to be kinder, gentler, and more welcoming?" Now, one may be well aware that this kind of experience is very rare in Paul VI settings as well, but that is not the point. The point is that those who try to excel in the liturgical worship of God and in the dispensation of traditional doctrine must also try to excel in the charitable welcoming of all.

Thank you, Mother Help of Christians, for this wonderful experience. Please, Mother Most Holy, teach kindness, gentleness, and true mercy to your children in this vale of tears. Each one can begin this small yet significant job in our own communities, with the help of the Lord and the Gentle Lady.