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Thursday, June 30, 2011

About the TLM

A couple of things to remember about about the Traditional Latin Mass and then a bit of advice...from someone who is exclusive....

1. Congrats on taking the first step into a bigger world.

2. When people approach me about assisting at the Traditional Latin Mass, I say this: "Give it three weeks uninterrupted. Engage the Mass, engage the culture, engage the spirituality, with no influence from the Novus Ordo. If at that time you don't fully embrace the Traditional Latin Mass, or have a better understanding of what is going on around you, then move back. This isn't an instruction, this is an expression of a legitimate spirituality...find out from the inside out. Let it wash over you."

3. Don't worry about keeping up. The Mass moves at it's own pace. You worship at your own pace. When you try to keep tabs on the Mass, especially in the beginning, you won't find much in the Mass, because you're focused too much on the participatio activa and not enough on the participatio actuosa. Keeping up will come with time, but that comes because you've learned to sync your worship to the action of the Mass. They are linked, but they are not the same, even in the Novus Ordo.

Think of it this way, one goes to Mass to worship God the Father. That action is completed in the Gift of the Son. And it is made manifest through the Holy Spirit. When one first comes into church, he should place his offerings (spiritual) at the foot of the altar. He then goes to his place and prepares for Holy Mass. When the priest starts the Mass, he gathers all of the offerings and places them on the altar alongside the Sacred Species. As he is offering these oblations the faithful then worship, each at his own pace, to God the Father. Like I said, as time passes and as one gets more comfortable with the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, his prayer will sync up with that action, until then, one shouldn't strive to catch up or to sync up, because that puts undue strain on a very natural action...It is the celebrant's job to minister to us, so we should let him; not try to minister to ourselves or to each other.

So, when you go back the next time, don't worry so much about knowing where the priest is, it will make the experience that much better. I also suggest that people not use a missal or "the little red book" for several weeks, so as to be able to engage participatio actuosa....WHAT the priest is doing is not nearly as important as to WHY the priest is doing what he's doing. The same applies to the Novus Ordo.

Finally, I would offer this bit of advice...embrace the silence of a low Mass. Embrace it and use it. One of the main reasons that the Mass is quiet is so that one can focus his worship as he sees fit. That will change daily, btw. Your offerings are yours. That is what you meditate upon. The big problem with the "new mentality" of Mass is that we have lost this idea of sacred silence. We've been conditioned to think that unless we're doing or saying or singing or acting out something at Mass, we're not worshiping. That is a Protestant ideal. Catholics have always valued silence and solitude. Monks and nuns have taken what is rightly Catholic with regard to her worship and moved it to the extreme. That is what they do, it is an example...not the norm...but we should apply the example as best we can.

Get it yet? The mentality is a little different. That is why I say give it three weeks, uninterrupted. If you do, I think that you'll see a whole new world with regard to the Church. It isn't a different Church, mind you, but it is a different mentality within the Church....and if you don't like it, you can always go back.