Monday, May 5, 2014

A church full of ill-behaved children (Tolkien)

The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion.  Though always itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and one for all in any of us.  Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grown by exercise. […] Frequency is of the highest effect.

Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.  Also, I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for):  make your Communion in circumstances that affront your taste.  Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open-necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered.  Go to Communion with them (and pray for them).

It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people.  It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.

--J.R.R. Tolkien, quoted in The Philosophy of Tolkien: 
The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings, p.219

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