Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The power of simple traditions: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

            St. Paul teaches us this morning: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.”
            Many people in our society scoff at Catholics, claiming we are too traditional.  Yet this is one of the features of our faith I love the most.
            I have seen how beautiful our traditions are in a particular setting—near death or within tragedy.  During seminary I had the opportunity to spend a summer as a hospital chaplain.  Our job was to be present to patients facing illness, injury or death itself and the opportunity often arose to pray with these men and women. 
One of the greatest gifts I received that summer was recognizing how powerful our simple traditions are.  Many tears were shed praying the Lord’s Prayer—a prayer everyone knows no matter when they came to church last.  Often enough these words helped a patient pray for the first time in years.  The same is true with the Sign of the Cross.  I have seen on several occasions a person who had lost cognitive functions make the sign of the cross or attempt to do so.
Everything we do and believe in our faith has a purpose.  The daily traditions in which we participate are working, not only consciously, but also in our subconscious.  They become so engrained that when everything else may be lost, we have a means to pray.
Let us stand fast today in the traditions we have been taught within our Catholic faith.

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