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Tears of Joy, and of Reparation

Editor’s note: in March, we shared the news with our readers that 1P5 contributor Dr. Brian Kopp had suffered a series of debilitating strokes that were, at the time, life-threatening. By God’s grace, Brian pulled through, and is making progress in his physical recovery. This is his first contribution since that time. Please pray for his continued healing.

13510881_1774503162785194_5089788364082218250_nI went to my parish for the Traditional Latin Mass today. It was the first time I went there with a pair of forearm crutches instead of a walker, since multiple strokes in March, so I no longer needed to sit in the handicapped pew.

I spent the whole Mass praying ardently for guidance from God and begging Our Lady to pray for me and lead me, given the circumstances with the Church and this pope on whether to stay quiet or what to do and what to say.

I’ve been working on kneeling and genuflecting at PT for two weeks. I was finally able to walk up to Communion with crutches and, for the first time since early March, I was able (with a bit of help) to kneel to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

I started attending the TLM because 1) I wanted to kneel for the Eucharist and 2) I despised liturgical abuse and gravely mistrusted those priests who engaged in it. I don’t love Latin, and I had no attachment to that liturgy (though I do now, especially since I understand the theology of the sacrifice of the mass now given  the immensely richer and deeper theology of the old liturgy.)

The pastor stopped his usual walk from side to side to distribute the Eucharist to  come to me, so I didn’t have to wait to receive in the kneeling position, the first time I had attempted to do so since March. Then he graciously helped me to stand up from the altar rail, making sure I was steady and had my footing and my crutches before moving on to continue distributing.

When I got back to my pew and knelt in thanksgiving, tears of joy started streaming unbidden down my face. In March, I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk again, and I had just walked to the altar rail. And I knelt and got back up, something I never thought I’d be able to do again. I was thoroughly overjoyed and thankful; I’ve never experienced tears of joy and thanksgiving at Mass.

Then something strange happened. My tears of joy melted into tears of sorrow, and I began weeping. For a very long time. Again, something that I’ve just never done at a Mass, and surely didn’t want to be doing at a TLM where moments before I had experienced rare tears of joy in thanksgiving.

I just don’t cry at Mass, but in an instant I understood. While I had prayed earlier, earnestly, for guidance in the midst of this Church chaos, I realized our pope was making changes to allow those in irregular unions to have access to the Eucharist. While I was experiencing tears of joy at being able to kneel for the Holy Eucharist, at a Mass I started attending to escape liturgical abuse, we had a pope that regularly commits the liturgical abuse of not genuflecting at the Consecration, and not kneeling at Adoration. This despite abundant photos on the Internet of him kneeling to commit the liturgical abuse of washing Muslim women’s feet on Holy Thursday (before he changed the rules so his liturgical abuse became “licit.”)

Pope Francis kisses the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, some 30km (18, 6 miles) from Rome, Thursday, March 24, 2016. The pontiff washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees Thursday, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels attacks. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis kisses the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, some 30km (18, 6 miles) from Rome, Thursday, March 24, 2016. The pontiff washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees Thursday, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels attacks. (L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

These tears are shared by Our Lady that a priest, the pope, would ignore or disobey liturgical rubrics intended to give praise and glory to her Son’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, but desires to see us kneel before the presence of the poor.

My prayers were answered today. A love for the Real Presence in the Eucharist must be accompanied by corrective words and actions for those who would profane it.

My quadriceps are killing me tonight from kneeling at Mass for the first time since March, so, like every bit of suffering in this long process of strokes and recovery, I’ll actively accept that cross and offer it up to the Father, along with ardent prayers and continued fasting, for our Holy Father and his conversion to defending and preaching orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

But I fear many more tears of reparation will be shed in the weeks and months ahead.

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