26 March 2008

Lost Sheep redux

As I was leaving on Saturday morning, Elder said to me: "Why do you have to go?"

I answered: "Because the Bible commands it."

My efforts with the other co worker amounted to nothing (so far), and I believed at least part of the problem was that I gave him the information, and left everything up to him. I decided this time to take the co worker out personally, and at least show him around.

He brought along his girlfriend (who's a baptist) and I took them on a tour of some of the older Catholic churches in downtown Toronto, plus the Oratory. I explained to them what I could of the Catholic Church, but I spoke mainly to my strength, which is history, rather than theology. I showed them around several churches, told them of the symbolism of their layouts, and of the windows and statues and paintings. It all went rather well, except we couldn't get into St Paul's. I had wrongly assumed that St Paul's would be opened, as were most other churches I know, on Holy Saturday. But that actually worked a little in their favour: they want to go back to see the insides. So now they have a reason to return.

Unfortunately, it may be the wrong reason. This is a problem with which I have wrestled a long time, and will wrestle with still. If by grace of God I help him to return, I should help him to be a church goer, not a church critic. Mass done perfectly in a beautiful church is wondrous thing. Mass done well in an ugly church is still a wondrous thing. The Masses that stayed with my father the most were celebrated outdoors on the hood of a jeep. I am not speaking of liturgical abuse, but rather a slippery feeling that I see in some blogs, that going against the writer's sense of taste and style is an abuse.

The day as a whole went well. They really enjoyed themselves, and liked the history I could tell them. The girlfriend even suggested I have a future as a tour guide. A fine compliment, however, I don't foresee much Catholic tourism in Toronto at this time. At any rate, they want to go on another outing, see the places we missed first time around. More than that, they want to attend a Mass.

I should try and push him into his local church, but at the same time, it is permitted for any Catholic to attend any Catholic church. He can licitly attend any church in Toronto. He and his girlfriend want to attend a Latin OF Mass at the Oratory. Deo Gratias. Hopefully, the liturgy can work a transformation with them. On the other hand, Latin is a little tough to follow the first few times around, and they could probably do with some help. Rather than solely leave it up to them to go "someday", I will attempt to set another date with them and take them myself.

If anything more is required of me, I'll deal with it when it comes. I told him the other day, "I feel a bit like Morpheus. 'I can only show you the door. You're the one who has to walk through.'"

That's all I have for now. This seems to be going well, but so did the other one. They're interested, but interest can wane. So I'll end this post with what seems to be my new traditional ending: Prayer requests. On my own I am nothing and my efforts will fail, etc etc.

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