Friday, September 14, 2007

The Latin Mass Today

We just finished watching the live broadcast of the traditional Latin Mass on EWTN. The plumber was here at 7:30 am fixing our clogged kitchen sink, and so we assisted at Mass with a great deal of racket in the background. In spite of the noise and the fact that we were watching it from afar, I was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity of the old rite. The years we lived in Pittsburgh, we went to the indult Mass every Sunday, but that was almost ten years ago. I had not realized how starved I was for the beauty of tradition until I heard the nuns chanting the Introit for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross; tears streamed down my face.

People often say that the old rite is more complicated; perhaps for the priest the rubrics are more involved. I find it very easy to follow, however, and much more conducive to entering into the mystery of the day. I always have found that my mind wanders less during a Latin Mass, for it engages the powers of concentration on a deeper level. Also, one is not tensed for surprises as with the new Mass, where sometimes people like to indulge their creative impulses instead of following the rubrics laid down by the Church.

Once one figures out the missal the traditional Mass is quite easy to follow. I used an old missal that I have had for years; my father's Aunt Sheila gave it to me. Aunt Sheila found the missal in a trash can in England during World War II, when she was serving as a nurse with the Canadian military. It has many feasts of the various English martyrs which is another reason I treasure it.

During the Consecration, the broadcast suffered technical difficulties for a few minutes. At the same time, the plumber announced that he could not fix our sink and could not figure out what the problem was; he claimed he had never seen a drain so mysteriously clogged except in a hotel. (I told him we would pray over it and he said that was a good idea.) The Mass resumed; the entire spectacle of the magnificent Shrine in Hanceville, the chants, the incense, the reverence, the crowded nave, the ladies in mantillas, was incredibly moving and beautiful.

As in the past, I came away from the Latin Mass uplifted and inspired. I look forward to the future. May God bless Pope Benedict XVI!

Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat! Share


Vara said...

Maria-Elena, I believe that you can immerse yourself in the Liturgy of the Missal of Pius V as easily as I can immerse myself on the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. You do not need a book to follow it, in fact the book may be an impediment to a close and intimate union with the celebrant and with Christ who is present and amongst us.

Liturgy is not something written in a book, it is something we live with our entire being. We smell it (in the incense), we touch it (in the vestments and holy water (in your case)), we taste it (in the Eucharist), we see it (in the vestments and iconography), and we hear it (in the sacred language of the liturgy itself and in the Gospels).

This is why the Church of Rome needs to return to its traditional form of worship. It allows for a total immersion, wheras the Novus Ordo is only wading in a kiddy pool. At least,
it is how it appears to this outsider.

May your Pope Benedict have the courage to reinstate such worship in all its glory everywhere. You deserve nothing lesser. It would also make relations between Catholic and Orthodox better, I believe. Is there something WRONG in loving and preserving your traditions? Assuredly not!

Pray for this sinner.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I can't wait! I plan on watching the encore presentation tonight.

Vara, your comparison to a kiddie pool is hilarious.

There are some places where the Novus Ordo is celebrated beautifully - unfortunately those are rare. Most are like dry toast at best or full of abuses at the worst.

I have often thought of comparing the two forms to a Yugo and a Bentley. Sure, they both get you where you're going, but one is bare bones, no frills and the other luxuriously attends to all of the senses as you ride.

Anonymous said...

OH now you have inspired me to see if I can download the recorded version from!! (Wish we could catch EWTN on TV here.)

Sure sounds like the devil was actively trying to draw you all away from the Consecration, huh? It's funny how often it seems that way in Sunday Mass, too--that only at that moment babies begin to act up or some children start up a commotion.

And what became of your sink clog?

elena maria vidal said...

It's still clogged!!!