St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Living the Moral Life 62

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Blessed objects are great things to help us grow in virtue, protect us and teach us. Holy Traditions can do the same. In Traditions, I am more specifically referring to actions, as opposed to objects. Unfortunately, many people were taught that Traditions are relative and therefore can change like the wind. There are many reasons why Traditions are not subject to change.

First: Traditions in faith are different than traditions in a household. Most people think of Traditions of the Church as the same as traditions at home. For instance, we put up Christmas trees at the beginning of Advent and do not take them down till the end of Christmas season. Other families will not put up the tree till Christmas day or eve. Others take down the Christmas tree the day after Christmas. Everybody has their own tradition and we all have our own opinion about which one is best. Some household traditions do not really have any meaning either. Maybe for a generation or two the family would get together and sing or go on trips. It has a special meaning for a time, but then when everybody gets old, they are not as motivated to participate. The memories of the tradition fade with the importance and so traditions are lost or change to something new.

Sacred Tradition is something altogether different. What makes it different? Jesus. Let’s look at the most important Tradition we have, our worship, the Mass. The Mass is a form of worship commanded by God and given by God. Everything we do at the Mass is an act of worship so that we may give to God what is right. God shows us how to worship Him rightly. When God gave us the Mass to celebrate at the Last Supper, He did not say “do this for a while; I will probably change my mind later according to what I want then.” Nor did He say to do whatever makes you feel good. The worship He gave was not for His benefit. God is already perfect in Himself. God does not need us. If He did, He would not love us. God chooses us and wants us to be with Him in eternal happiness. So He gave us worship so that we may benefit from adoring Him.

When we worship, we make ourselves a gift to God. The paradox of all this is that when we as humans approach worship with the viewpoint of getting something out of it, we end up getting less out of it. Like marriage, we will realize that the more we give, the more we get. When we simply rely on the worship, we more easily give ourselves to God and He gives himself to us. This is the tradition of the Mass.

The Mass is the ultimate form of Tradition. The Mass is the Catholic way of worship. Worship is formed from the actions and/or words we use to invoke God. This is one reason why we do not simply change Traditions. Traditions are a way of receiving grace. Even though worship is a way of giving back to God, we still have to ask ourselves what graces we would miss if we changed this great Tradition.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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