Are You a Smells and Bells Catholic?
As we are about to enter Passion Week it is incumbent upon each of us to deeply examine our souls. One, of course, could effectively take the Examination of Conscience used prior to Confession to do this; however, while this is efficacious for the occasion of Confession, at this time of Lent it is imperative that we delve deeply into our lives and actions as it regards The Faith and our ultimate end, that is, heaven, eternity with God; or hell, eternity away from Him. Think of it this way, our weekly or bi-monthly Confession is like our weekly cleaning of our homes; but Lent is the time of a good and thorough Spring Cleaning.
Perhaps, I speak only from personal experience but I find it difficult to plumb the depths of my faults, sins, and weaknesses without reflecting first on the fact that sin is, by definition, an offense against God. Yes, yes, yes, I understand intellectually this definition but I must continually have an image before my mind’s eye that every sin I commit is another stripe on the Sacred Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Pillar in the Palace of Pilate. Perhaps this failure is a weakness inherent in Original Sin, or perhaps it is a ploy of the Devil to distance our sins from the Suffering of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meantime, the weeks prior to Passion Week should have been spent in spiritual reading in an effort to push through the haze of our perceptions and form a mental picture of the cause and effect nature of our sins on God, both temporally, in the Sacred Body of Our Lord, and in eternity through their effects
Holy Mother Church, in her great Wisdom, sets this time of Lent aside expressly that we might relate our sinful and concupiscent natures directly to the suffering of Jesus Christ, culminating in this upcoming Passion Week. More importantly during the rest of the year she quietly but insistently teaches through her Sacred Magisterium, the nature of sin, our relationship to God, Christ, and His Church, as well as, the doctrines and Dogmas that will help us on the goal of attaining Salvation. Here lies the essence of our Faith. Without Dogmas and doctrines we cannot fully understand the depth of the love of God for each of us. Thus understanding of doctrine and Dogmas of Holy Mother Church trumps the need to feel “good” about the practical aspects of our Faith.
These practical aspects include but are not limited to the accoutrements of the Church; that is, the vivid colors of the stained glass, the incredibly majestic rumble of the mighty organ, the heady smells of incense, the angelic sounds of a choir singing Gregorian chant, and the sound of tinkling bells. Do not misunderstand these things are quite good and proper in our worship of the Triune God, but of themselves they are merely pleasures of the senses. Without the proper understanding of the Doctrines of Holy Mother Church these aids in our worship have little or no value other than esthetics. Yet, that said, how many of us are superficially enamored by these temporal accompaniments of the real meaning of our Faith? Indeed, how many are truly inclined to find out about the spiritually rich Dogmas, doctrines, ceremonies and their meanings that lie at the heart of our Faith? O Yes! …any and every excuse is grasped at to rationalize this lack of inclination to learn of the Faith, but the bottom line is that, many of us, indeed, most of us have no desire to further our understanding of our own Faith. We are satisfied with the sensuous temporal aspects of the Catholic Faith and delve no further than is required to fulfill our obligations to maintain our Catholic identity. In fact, we are satisfied to be “Smells and Bells” traditional Catholics. In love with the sense-pleasing superficial aspects of the Faith! …in other words, we are lukewarm …and we all know the consequences of that!
I might at this time hear: well, this is not so, I do this, that and the other thing for my Faith. Yet, as the crisis of the traditional Catholic Faith unfolds before us day by day, most of us, rather than point our errors in Dogma and doctrine simply say: …but we have our churches, we have our Latin Masses, we have our Sacraments, we have our schools, …we have our smells and bells. Truly, had we a thorough understanding of the Faith, the traditional Faithful would have risen en masse when it was evident that compromise and capitulation were in the wind, and that practical solutions were being sought for doctrinal and Dogmatic breeches in the Catholic Faith. This battle is far from over; it is not too late to learn of your Faith in a deep and abiding way. Most of all take care where and how you entrust the well-being of your soul …someday we will be asked to give account and we cannot say but we obeyed this bishop, priest, or pastor. Ultimately, we are solely accountable for our soul’s final achievement; that is, heaven or hell. SO take the time to learn your Faith, the traditional Catholic Faith. Nothing other than this …no beautiful stained glass, no sweet incense, no heavenly choir, will gain us Salvation but the deeply understood and lived Dogmas and doctrines of the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Reflect on the ruin of souls wrought by this single cause: ignorance of truths which must be known by all men alike in order that they may attain eternal salvation. This we solemnly affirm: the majority of those condemned to eternal punishment fall into everlasting misfortune through ignorance of the Mysteries of The Faith, which must necessarily be known and believed by all who belong to the Elect.
Pope St. Pius X, Papal Defender of Christ the King, Adversary of Modernists, Incorruptible Saint
Pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is our last recourse; time is swiftly running out … it has been 97 years since the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.