11 January 2008

St. Thérèse has done it again

You have to see this to believe it.

The parish of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in Alhambra has established the Extraordinary Form as a regular Sunday mass at 1:00pm. This is not surprising. The parish is under the care of the Discalced Carmelites (there are three establishments in the immediate area), and has had perpetual adoration for a long time.

They are the first to be listed on the archdiocesan website, below the list of those Masses established under the previous "free and generous" policy. {polite cough}

I cannot begin to imagine with what chagrin the Archdiocese resigned itself to posting that Mass.

(One notes that the page is still called "indult" - http://www.archdiocese.la/ directories/ parishes/ indult.html. And, of course, the link is to "Tridentine (sic) Masses".)

The parish was actually named for St. Thérèse before her canonization in May, 1925. From their parish history:
On January 26, 1925, the [Discalced Carmelite] Fathers were able to take up permanent residence in a newly acquired home at 515 Vega Street, purchased for $37,000. (the house had been built in 1899 by Seth Champion). The Carmelites blessed their new home on January 27, dedicating it to Blessed Therese, thus becoming the first Irish mission of the Discalced Carmelites.
St. Thérèse is my patron saint. Her intercession is often like her life and her Little Way: hidden, easy to discount, full of deep meaning, and powerful for those who are aware of it. What she asks, she gets. I have no doubt whatever that she asked our good God for her parish to be the first listed on the Archdiocesan as offering the Extraordinary Form of Mass on a regular basis, and I have no doubt He was glad to comply, that those who love that form of Mass may find her parish and have solace there.

When her relics were brought to Alhambra, I had the great joy and blessing of making a visit. I made a special prayer that day for courage and perseverance, two virtues which seem entirely lacking in my character when it comes to my Faith. I could not persevere when things went so far wrong after Vatican II; I hadn't the courage to stand up for what I knew was right. I was spending so much time protecting myself against spiritual corruption that I finally fled. During her visit in 1997 it seemed like there would be no end to the nonsense; the Catholic Church was unrecognizable; where was Jesus? So I was led by God at that time to ask St. Thérèse as a special favor for courage and perseverance.

I would like to say that I was given those virtues, but that's not what happened at all. I'm just as weak as ever ... weaker, even. My courage is in Jesus. I rely on Jesus alone. If there's anything courageous to be done in my life, I do it entirely in His strength and guidance. My perseverance is a kind of stubborn resolve to love Him no matter what. Archbishop Mahony and certain Jesuits and all that crowd can do what they will; I shall not quit loving Jesus. Nor will I quit seeing Jesus as the Christ, the King. I kneel in His presence.

Archbishop Mahony finds that disobedient, and therefore scandalous. So I don't give scandal. I don't kneel at Mass. I can't, because I'm not there.

But I do kneel at the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Jesus would be within His rights to annihilate me for my cowardice. Instead, He has graciously condescended to give us Pope Benedict XVI and has supported and blessed him in his arduous work. I was astonished at Summorum Pontificum - and deeply humbled. And now ... this. At a parish near enough to me to remove all excuses from attending. The parish named for my patroness, St. Thérèse.

I asked for courage and perseverance. Instead, the more acutely aware I am of my weakness and my need every moment for God's love and forbearance, the more I am given.

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