In his last chapter of The Vindication of Tradition Jaroslav Pelikan describes our task in the Church as that of an Olympic long jumper. He contrasts our task with the standing-long-jumper.
The latter try to jump from a standstill. They ignore the terrain behind them and leap forward with awkward footing. Alas they cannot get very far.
The former begin their jump at...the beginning. They do not ignore the centimeters [read centuries] of the course up to the launch pad. They traverse the entire length before they jump.
He sums it all up with a quote from Goethe:
What you have as heritage,
take now as task;
For thus you will make it your own!