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Latin & Me, part 2

As I began last week - here's installment number 2 in my Latin & Me series ... read part 1 here.

Do with it what you wish, this is my journey - rooted in the Catholic Church's law governing Liturgy within the context of my personal experience at my parish. I will be the first to say that no one's personal explanation would have swayed me nor do the Church documents serve to change my heart. It is well documented - and even beautifully explained by my pastor if you want to read it for yourself. Following is my personal account of how my heart was converted.

Over a year after my first Latin Mass experience, we had a change of pastor at our parish. We did not have an associate, but are where Fr. Kauth is in residence. His influence brought the issues surrounding Latin Mass back around to the forefront of my mind. We went through many changes to our Liturgy and the way we worship at the parish.

One woman who I know very well once said to me, in the middle of the church, "it's not about you." Although I was very upset with her at the time, I can see now that was the hammer that cracked the outer shell of my hardened heart.

In December, Fr. Kauth scheduled our first Rorate Mass - a beautiful celebration lit only be candles. It was a Low Mass, meaning that there wasn't music, we didn't have a deacon or sub-deacon, and it was quite simple. He asked us if he was going to go, and I somehow said yes not realizing, until I invited MG to come with me, that it would be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form in Latin. Oh and this Mass was being celebrated at 6am.

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The above photo is actually from this year, but this is basically what it was like that first year. After Mass MG asked me my thoughts and all I could say was that it was so beautiful. I didn't understand anything, had to kneel to receive communion (shared my thoughts on that last week), and didn't say anything at all during Mass - but I had actively participated in the Mass.

Although this was not the beginning of a love affair with the MEF or even Latin in general, voluntarily choosing to attend this Mass is a turning point for me. Just the very fact that I was open to being present at a Latin Mass at 6 in the morning is a huge step, a leap even.

Why do I think this happened? It all goes back to one conversation with MC (one of our sacristans at the parish and a friend of mine) who put me in my place one afternoon when I was complaining. I was upset about something the new Fathers were doing with the Mass - maybe it was the candles, maybe the EMCs, maybe the spoon, or something else - and she looked me right in the eye and said, "Katie, it's not about you!", pointed, and then moved about her merry way. They had only been here for a few weeks, I wasn't in the job I am now, and was seriously considering looking for a new job.

That moment was a turning point for me, well, after I got over being furious with her for speaking to me so harshly. I needed it though, I needed to be put in my place, remembering that the reason I go to Mass, that I work at a Church, that I have faith at all really isn't about me, what I think should be, or even how I feel.

This is a pretty radical thing to say in our culture and the Church at large right now, but I still believe it hold fast and true. We shouldn't be faithful only because it feels right or not be faithful because it just doesn't. Truth is truth whether we acknowledge it or not. That statement is the downfall of our Relativistic Society. Truth exists and his name is Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God.

For instance, whether you believe the host truly becomes the Body and Blood or not has no bearing on whether it does or not. Just as if you believe whether being stabbed in the heart will kill you or not, doesn't make the reality of being stabbed in the heart a fatal act. It is, every time, always, whether you believe it or not.

We are called to accept the teaching and then conform our lives around it, not to debate whether the teaching is truth or not.

Accepting the teachings of the Catholic Church is to also accept the traditions and beauty that she also is.

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I appreciate you following along this journey with me, remembering this is my journey to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form and use of Latin. The journey of my heart as I grow in my faith. It is not all comprehensive approach to Latin in the Church or even the MEF, but my experience. I pray that it will be food for thought and fodder for prayer.

You can read part 1 here, if you missed last week. Check in next Thursday for the next step in my journey, Kneeling for Communion.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6

Comments

  1. Gah, this is so interesting. And the candle-lit Mass looks SO BEAUTIFUL! What I am curious to know from your journey is what you believe about approaching our faith in this way. Do you believe it is the right or best way? Should we lean more toward tradition instead of more modern guitar Masses? Does stuff like that water down our faith?

    I certainly have my own opinions on that, but would love to hear what you think as you work through this :-)

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    1. I'm so glad you're interested!!! And the Rorate Mass is amazing each year! I don't know which is right - leaning more toward tradition or modern, but I do think it's important to embrace the age old traditions of the church rather than dismiss them because they aren't 'modern' and 'new'. Although I think all things have their place in worship, I'm coming more to the conclusion that songs (typically P&W) that talk more about us and how great we are moving toward God aren't appropriate for Liturgy. Hymns that Praise God for His Glory and who He is independent of us are there.

      It's also okay to say something doesn't belong in the Mass, and is appropriate for other areas of prayer.

      Overall I think we should lean more toward the AUTHENTIC rather than the 'adaptations to culture' - in my journey I'm still figuring out what that looks like. A lot of contention is over the music ... I talk about that more in part 4 (two weeks).

      Also, I'm so glad you're reading along ... it's been interesting for me to write about this as it has been quite the journey!

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  2. I think that it's great that you are taking the time to write about your experiences about this. Especially as a young person who is finding the beauty of the Church's traditions--when so many people think that they are outdated. It would have been hard to not be offended by the "it's not about you" comments you received, but sometimes God has people tell us what we need to hear to get us thinking. :)

    I am so glad that you will be writing about music soon, because that is such a hot-button topic in the church (because everyone has a strong opinion on it!) and it's the area that I serve in my parish. To be perfectly honest, I've wanted to tell people "it's not about you" many times when they complain the direction music is taking in our parish. I've just never been that brave!

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    1. Oh I was seriously upset when she said it to me, for weeks - and even now when I think about it, that emotion comes up - but I remember that, truly, it's not about me - and when our worship is about what we like and not what we are giving to the Lord, loving him the ways he has shown that he likes, then it's not really worship at all!

      And the music is coming soon ... need to re-read it to make sure it fully expresses what I want it to!

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