Old School

Today, Hubby and I attended a Tridentine Mass, a.k.a. the LATIN MASS in central Massachusetts. Many years ago, in my Protestant days, I sat through one and didn’t understand a blessed thing but I appreciated the reverence. This time, with nearly two years of Novus Ordo under my belt, I was able to follow along despite the dead language barrier. Hubs and I rose and knelt with the best of them, perhaps just a half-second behind.

I’m quite happy with the new-fangled liturgy (40+ years and counting) and wouldn’t mind attending other Latin Masses (as long as there were folks I could follow.) But what struck me during the mass was not so much the precise movements of the priest and altar servers but the attentive worshipers.

Attending other parishes, Hubby and I are struck by the lack of reverence by the congregants and the priests. At one parish the priest skipped the homily, Creed and intentions. No wonder that after Mass, folks fled the sanctuary like rats from a sinking ship. If the priest doesn’t want to be there, why should they? Last summer, I visited a local parish for an early morning Sunday mass. I remember the altar server was this swarthy teenager who stood next to the priest, facing the congregration, not paying attention to what was happening on the altar. He was checking out who was sitting in the pews. The priest sleptwalked through the liturgy. At this parish I noticed about a third “ate and ran.” A few weeks back, I wrote about a different parish which catered to the worshippers needs. It seemed God was secondary. (The homily theme: greatness is measured in how you make others feel great. ARGH!) Hubby and I like the parish we attend now but there is not that same INTENSITY that I felt and witnessed at the Latin Mass.

Mantilla Mania!

Mantilla Mania!

When entering, the Rosary was in progress.Were there crying babies and impatient toddlers? Sure. But the folks were not there to socialize in the sanctuary. I’ll admit, I liked seeing folks dressed up for church. Not a pair of jeans or Patriots jersey in sight. While waiting in the aisle for communion, no one spoke and no one “ate and ran.” At the end, even though the priest had left the sanctuary, people sat in the pews until the candles were extinguished. There’s nothing wrong with that.

True worship where the created gives public reverence to the creator starts with a respect of the liturgy from priests and respect of God from parishioners. Both come out of a true loving relationship with God.


2 responses to “Old School

  1. Nice post!! I had a long response, but who wants to read that? How about highlights?
    – Have you read Orthodoxy by Chesterton? Probably, but you reminded me of how revolutionary adhering to tradition can be.
    – After reading a previous post, I tried praying quietly, head bowed, before a service. A friendly but oblivious attendee slapped me on the back and greeted me loudly anyway.
    – Jeans and a tee-shirt in church don’t prove that you’re not stodgy, just that you think more of your comfort and self-expression than respect for those who have to look at you. Change when you get home.
    – Maybe I want a church that sings hymns because they’re a proxy for reverence and seriousness. I’m beginning to think so. Worship at one service had two guitar solos. I wish I was joking. Now I see drum sets and run.
    – As a teenager, I used to attend a mass that clocked in at a cool 30 minutes. We called it “Insta-Mass”. And people were still doing the “eat-and-flee” to beat traffic out of the parking lot. But at least there wasn’t time for social hour before and after…

  2. Amen, Brother! Orthodoxy is on my “to-be-read” list. Hope you didn’t get buried by the recent snow storm!

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