I was discussing the Mass with a Youth Minister friend, Carolyn Grassmick. I was gushing about how beautiful the Traditional Latin Mass is and how uplifting the Charismatic Life Teen Mass is. I told Carolyn that I loved both Masses so much and that I felt blessed to have a variety of ways to experience worship. She laughed and said, “You are spiritually bilingual! You speak traditional and charismatic Catholic fluently!”
Reflecting on this, I have recognized a disconcerting trend within our beautiful Catholic faith. A rift is brewing between traditionalists and charismatics.
I’m not talking about traditionalists who don’t want to follow Rome (with a unique Pope currently in the seat of Peter) or charismatics who change the words of the Mass and add liturgical dancing; I’m referring to mainstream, truly Catholic groups who just worship differently.
The traditionalists often have little tolerance for contemporary Christian Mass, the music, or things like people ‘resting in the Spirit.’ They reject these experiences as not reverent enough to be valid.
The charismatic movement members, on the other hand, state that they are not moved by the Mass when it’s quiet and traditional. They mistakenly believe that if you cannot visibly see the fruits of the Spirit that you are just not open enough to experience them.
What? The Mass is the Mass!
Have we forgotten that Jesus is present in the Word and in the Eucharist? Whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit are running rampant or there is silent, intense Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, both are forms of Catholic worship. Equal members of the same Faith.
I have seen endless confession lines at the Sacrament of Reconciliation celebrated prior to a charismatic or Life Teen Mass and I have also witnessed incredibly devout traditional Catholics spending hours in Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament! Neither group can claim the market on loving Christ and wanting to serve him. Who am I, who are we, to determine who has the deeper Catholic faith?
The Body of Christ is complex and diversified. It has many parts, many talents and many ways of expressing ‘authentic’ Catholic Faith. What it does not have is an appendix (an unnecessary or disposable part).
The goal is to move towards embracing and appreciating our differences as complimentary pieces of the same spiritual puzzle. God bless.