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.
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.