Renewal of Christian Culture

If Christian culture is to be renewed, habits are more vital than revivals, rituals more edifying than spiritual highs, the creed more penetrating than theological insight, and the celebration of saints’ days more uplifting than the observance of Mother’s Day. There is great wisdom in the maligned phrase ex opere operato, the effect is in the doing. Intention is like a reed blowing in the wind. It is the doing that counts, and if we do something for God, in the doing God does something for us.

I could have accepted this as true before I became a more faithful participant in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church, but having seen how the liturgy and the sacraments have worked and are working to change me without my being fully aware of it, I can testify to the truth of this from experience. Here’s what a big deal this is to me: if a wealthy patron offered me a big salary and a lovely house to move to my beloved France to live and raise my family, I would turn him down, because what I am given by my little country parish is priceless. It is far more than church; it is a culture, absorbed into one’s bones by the liturgy, the Psalms, the ancient hymns, the incense, the repetition.

(Rod Dreher, Cult & Culture)


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