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Latin & Me, part 6

Over the course of the last six weeks, I've been sharing my journey from "no latin ever" to where I am now. I wanted to conclude with why I think preserving, attending, and cherishing the Old Rite of the Mass is important. This can be applied to anything we do in the Mass actually, so even if you don't want to attend a MEF or don't have one around, this can apply to your Mass going experience as well.

I try to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form in my parish when I can, but this amounts to maybe 2 times per month, maybe. So that's 2 out of 25 Mass experiences a month, not even close to a majority, not even a number that is statistically significant. However, appreciating the Mass in this form has helped me to appreciate the Mass in the Novus Ordo as well. Why?

Because it is beautiful.

I was thinking of this verse from Philippians 4:8 as well:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
These are the sorts of things that we should be thinking about all the time. The sorts of things that should occupy our mind on a regular basis. Are they for you? Are they for me?

The Mass is important for so many reasons - I'm not going to dive in to why we should attend Mass. The rites of the Old Liturgy are worth preserving because they are beautiful. There are a lot of other reasons, but beauty is a good unto itself. Truth, Goodness, Beauty - all ends unto themselves. They don't need reasons beyond that.

Many people will talk about how it is better, how you should only attend this rite, but I don't really believe that. I can appreciate the Novus Ordo Mass because it is also beautiful. One of our young adults was saying that it was so different (the Latin Mass verses what most of us know as Mass) and I was trying to tell her that it's the same, really. And it truly is. Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, Jesus comes, we consume Him. The basics are all there. It looks a lot different. If you attend a Low Mass, it looks even more different and it's basically silent and you kneel a LOT. That was my experience two Saturdays ago, but the Mass is the Mass. Truly.

So the reason why I keep attending is that I can't stay away. He's wooing me there. Fr. C was telling me about a regular attendee who asked him if it was necessary that he follow along in the missal or if he could attend Mass without using it. Basically this means that he wouldn't see any of the translations and might not be able to comprehend the readings, prayers, etc... Why did he ask? He told Fr. C that he felt like Jesus was wooing Him into a deeper relationship at the Mass, and the book was distracting him from that. Fr. C's response? Of course, put the book down - who are we to let the book get in the way of God calling us to Himself.

Now that is not the inherent purpose of the Mass - our obligation to attend on Sundays doesn't center around that desire, but isn't that really the purpose of our lives. To be called and drawn closer to the Lord, to be in right relationship with Him. The goal is Heaven - and if yours is something different, I recommend taking that to prayer and re-evaluating.

At the end of this life none of these things will matter - rich or poor, CEO or McDonald's worker, married or single. We take none of it with us to Heaven - and that's where we want to be - Heaven. The other option is awful, truly the worse than the worst possible thing you can ever imagine. 

So next time you're at Mass - let Him draw you to himself - don't worry about the music, whether you can sing it, if the Reader pronounced Azariah correctly or not, if the servers did what they were supposed to do - focus on Him and His love for you. If you can't see it, ask Him to show you. If you don't believe it, ask Him to present His truth - and be open to the answer. Focus on the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of God and let the rest fall into place.

Someone asked last week about what to do or think about or look at when you attend for the first time - so I'm going to write about that next week because I have to do some research - but the one piece of advice Fr. C gave to the congregation before our Orchestral Solemn High Mass was this: "Think of today as a Spiritual Buffet - you don't go to the buffet and eat everything all at once, but just one piece at this time, another at a different time. There will be a lot going on up here with the Liturgy and the Music - pay attention to what you are being drawn to, He'll guide you." So I present similar advice (for the overall picture) to you if you are a MEF newbie. Let Him guide your thoughts. The more you attend, the more familiar you will be with the Rite. I'll go through the missal we hand out and post some highlights to help you along.

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


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