It's very hard to describe what "it" is. When I talk to fellow members of the JPII generation, I don't need to explain; they know what "it" is. "It" is the true spirit of Vatican II, not the crazy liturgical malformations that came out immediately following the Council. "It" is a love for the Mass, not because of the promises of the Mass (my grandma can tell you all about those; she has the bookmark), but because of the way the Word of God comes alive; the way the Scriptures are breathed in every moment of the liturgy and because we have come to know Him in the breaking of the bread. "It" is the meaning of life and love through the lens of the human body, aka the theology of the body. "It" is enthusiasm and excitement that cannot help but bubble out and spread through a brand new evangelization, both organized and spontaneous. "It" is all over the country and the world. I have witnessed it in Kansas City and Colorado and Seattle. I have heard of it in Washington DC, Indiana, and Ohio. I have met members of this generation from everywhere.
We are not surprised when our friends go to seminary and join the convent. It is natural. We love the liturgy. Bring on the smells and bells! The more the better. Mass? Yes. Confession? Yes, please. NFP? Certainly, it's not a burden but a gift. Scripture? Thanks, I'd like some more. Adoration? Definitely!
We are confused when older folks praise us for taking our faith seriously. Uh. How else would you take it? We are not hanging around Mass because we should be there, but because there's no other place that we'd rather be. Are we perfect? No. We fail all the time. It doesn't stop us, though.
I don't know how to explain it, but I praise God that I live in a time to be a part of it. I think a lot of it is the vision of JPII, and how he lived that out with love. I think for me, it makes more and more sense the better I understand his Theology of the Body. Sometimes I don't know how to explain what I've learned, but I find it soaking in and changing me in ways that I don't even realize are happening. I don't know how it's changed me, until my mom and I have a conversation, or my grandma and I have a conversation, and they say something that doesn't fit.
For instance, let's take a hypothetical discussion about the Church's teachings about sex. All three of us believe the Church's teachings. As far as my grandma is concerned, what the Church says goes, and that's about all she needs. My mom knows more about the reasons why, and that's great, but she's still going to go down the list about what's right and wrong, and how what's wrong is going to ruin us. For me, it has started to become a lot less about what is right and wrong, and a lot more about why it is right and wrong. It is more about the desire of the heart behind the various acts, and whether those acts can truly lead to the love the heart is longing for. I really don't care that it's wrong. I really don't. I care that it is causing pain. I care that hearts are crying out, longing for a love that is real, and despairing that they can't find it. I follow the Church's teachings because they have the answer that my heart is craving, and because I have found healing there. And that's what I want for others.
Anyway, that was not a very well organized post. That was the thoughts that came tumbling out of my head and my heart as fast as I could type them. I don't know if they make any sense or not, but I can summarize it for you. I love JPII. I love Theology of the Body. And TOB is more contagious than the swine flu. I think that about covers it.