Tradition and living experience

In the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul writes: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2:15)


In the home, little traditions, like praying the Angelus at meal times. Or having a special dinner and table  centerpiece  for birthdays. Or sharing hot cross buns and Easter eggs on Easter Sunday morning.

In our liturgy, our prayer, holding fast to what has gone before us, those traditions. Praying and meditating on the rosary, as generations before have done. Praying at mass in the Extraordinary Form, participating in the Divine Office, praying the psalms, with the community  of saints through the ages

Just as traditions in the home bind us together as a family and with friends , build relationships and memories, make our family life vibrant, so traditions in the Church help us form relationship with Our Lord, with the community of believers past and present. These traditions helps us express and build a vibrant faith, a vibrant relationship with Christ and His Church.

To quote Bishop Kaiilstos Ware, on Orthodox spirituality, but making a point that stands true for us in the West,..”…I wish particularly to underline this need for living experience. To many in the twentieth century….the Orthodox Church seems chiefly remarkable for it’s air of antiquity and conservatism….For the Orthodox themselves, however, loyalty to Tradition means not primarily the acceptance of formulae or customs from past generations,  but rather the ever-new, personal and direct experience of the Holy Spirit in the present, here and now.” ( The Orthodox Way)

Loyalty to Tradition within our present, leading us to direct experience of Christ, through the prayers of the ages and through the sacraments .

Tradition forming our living experience. 

And that is why, in many respects, I am traditional in my worship. 

4 thoughts on “Tradition and living experience”

  1. Excellent, Leonie! In Virginia, we have a "religious exemption" clause that allows us to homeschool. When I wrote up my application, I was heavy on the ability to enjoy our traditions in the home setting … something almost impossible when the kids are in school.Hugs and prayers for you and yours!

  2. I love tradition. I pool, from my own childhood, the traditions that not only drew me closer to my family, but brought us all closer to Christ. We need tradition and our children long for it, look forward to it, and embrace it for security, understanding, and belonging. Our faith is steeped in it. What a shame it would be not to live it and bring it into your home! So wonderfully said, Leonie. I love this post 🙂

  3. …brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.Leonie, when I was worried about becoming a Catholic (from a born-again background) this scripture passage was THE ticket. I (vaguely – it's been 20+ years) remember asking God to help me know what to do, and I opened my bible to this very verse.A blogger gave me the idea to have my cell phone ring an alarm a few minutes before noon – so now I am praying the noon Angelus almost every day, for the first time in my Catholic life!

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