Today someone from the parish dropped off a 300 year old missal. (How I wish I knew how to say the Extraordinary Form so that I could use this Missal for at least one Mass.) I have looked through it and it is truly amazing how good the condition is. After all, this book has been around longer than the United States! I don't think most people in this country truly appreciate this kind of history, especially when you consider that this Missal has been used a countless number of times by hundreds (thousands?) of priests to say Mass for an innumerable amount of the Catholic Faithful. In fact, I find it ironic that the picture I took of the Missal was with my iPad, which, in just a few years time, will be obsolete and discarded.
It is sad that we live in culture that is based on such a consumption mentality: buy something, use it up and throw it away. This kind of thinking has saturated our culture to such a degree that we even treat people in the same way. Take, for instance, those who marry, get bored, divorce and move on to the next spouse. (Not that that is really possible, by the way, because when you say “I do” it is “until death do you part”!) This is a serious problem and needs to be corrected.
But, we cannot fix these problems by just pining away for times gone by. We cannot think, “If only we could go back to this or that decade or century then everything would be better.” No, yesterday is gone. And even if we could make it back to that “perfect” time in history, we would see that there were problems then just like there are now.
So what is the way forward? How do we begin to fix all the problems within our society? After all, we are called to make this world a better place. The beginning of this task is as simple as this: learn your Faith, live it out in your life and pass it on to others, while at the same time remembering that things on this earth will never be perfect. This is the core of evangelizing the world and it starts with each one of us doing that part which God has called us to do. We must remember that this world is not our final destination, even though that is how many people act. God created us for Himself and our goal should be to see Him face to face. But we will not see Him if we are looking to the past. Therefore, our face should be set towards eternity and it is to eternity that we are called to bring our fellow man.