Happy Feast of the Ascension

“The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.

They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem…”

Acts 1:1-11

Why I Attend the Traditional Latin Mass

I was asked the other day for my reason(s) for attending the Tridentine liturgy instead of the Novus Ordo, so here is my reply, which I tried to keep short (but hopefully did not sacrifice clarity for the sake of brevity).

Basically, I started going to the TLM because I wanted to avoid liturgical abuses, and because the celebration of the Novus Ordo that I had experienced did not match up with my reading of the documents of the Second Vatican Council (especially Sacrosantum Concilium), and the documents regarding the liturgy that followed. I was frustrated by needless ad-libbing and what I would describe as a loss of the idea/sense of the sacred; my experience of the Novus Ordo seemed too casual and I could not connect such an experience with the Church’s bold teaching on the Eucharist. I was (and still am) a firm believer that the celebration of the liturgy affects the life of the Church… or as Fr. Z says, “Save the liturgy, save the world!” http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/01/save-the-liturgy-save-the-world/

Upon first attending the Tridentine liturgy I was enchanted by the deep sense of mystery and awe. I (admittedly) was also completely lost, and gave up trying to follow along in the missal; but in doing so I realized a few things: while I think language is important (and Latin is more properly suited to the liturgy)… the prayers and the language of the Mass are less important than the action of the Mass (indeed, “liturgy” is defined as a “work”) and I think this emphasis on action is highlighted in the TLM. I had no idea what the priest was saying, but I knew what he was doing. There is a kind of continuity and universality present in the TLM that is much harder to find in the current celebration of the Novus Ordo (especially since Novus Ordo Masses, unfortunately, tend to vary from parish to parish and from priest to priest). Active participation has an entirely deeper meaning… I once probably would’ve suggested that active participation meant something like “being involved” in some vague sense: joining the dialogue, exercising some quasi-clerical role, etc. But I now see that active participation—in its highest form—is the reception of the Eucharist. We actively participate in the Mass by joining ourselves to the action of the Sacrifice on the altar.

So while I started out merely going to the Tridentine liturgy to avoid liturgical abuses, I keep going because the Tridentine liturgy is something worth preserving and, as it now stands, seems to be a better safeguard of the Faith. I don’t reject the Novus Ordo… and in some ways, the Tridentine liturgy has given me a better appreciation of what the Council was trying to accomplish, and so I continue to pray for a “reform of the reform” as our Holy Father as often called for.

Book Review: The Latin Mass Explained

Overall: I cannot recommend this book enough! It’s fantastic! A great explanation of the Latin Mass, plus, major practicality points for including a list of when to stand, sit, and kneel during the Mass.

Msgr. Moorman’s explanation of the Latin Mass in this small book is great! This is the most detailed explanation of the Latin Mass, without being overbearing on the details, that I’ve found . Msgr. Moorman’s writing style is very direct and easy to read. Before even beginning to explain the bits and pieces of the Latin Mass, Msgr. Moorman explains precisely what the Mass is and what that means for us. This little book was also immensely helpful in better appreciating not only what takes place at Mass, but entering into a deeper (and active) interior participation, and appreciating the Tridentine liturgy as something that must be preserved.

Msgr. Moorman clearly and succinctly explains everything about the Latin Mass– what the Mass is, why particular actions are performed, what is used for the Latin Mass and why it’s used, the vestments worn by the clergy, and what the prayers mean. Msgr. Moorman also gives a short, but effective, defense for Latin as the language of the liturgy. The last half of the book is the actual texts of the Latin Mass using the readings and prayers from Trinity Sunday alongside Msgr. Moorman’s very helpful explanations and commentary. I only wish I’d found this little book before attending my first Tridentine Mass!

For anyone wishing to attend a Latin Mass, I also recommend this book as a practical point; there’s a list of when to stand, sit, and kneel during the liturgy–so no worries about feeling lost! It’s a great size book to take along when without a 1962 Missal (keeping in mind that the prayers and readings are set for Trinity Sunday), especially as an introduction to the Latin Mass.

An excerpt explaining the “Munda cor meum”:

The priest goes to the center of the altar, bows down and prays.
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who didst cleanse the lips of the prophet Isaias with a burning coal: and vouchsafe, through Thy gracious mercy, so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be pleased, O Lord, to give Thy blessing.
The Lord be in my heart and on my lips, that I may worthily, and in a becoming manner, announce His holy Gospel.
While the missal is being transferred, the priest proceeds to the middle of the altar, where he makes a profound bow and asks God to purify his heart and lips, as He once did those of the Prophet Isaias with a burning coal, and enable him worthily to annouce the Gospel to the people. The people, in the meantime, pray that they may listen to the word of God attentively and with benefit.
The allusion to Isaias in this prayer recalls to mind the Prophet’s wonderful vision. He had been granted a vision of the glories of Heaven. He is overcome with humily at the thought of his unworthiness and exclaims: “Woe is me… because I am a man of unclean lips… and I have seen with my eyes the King of the Lord of hosts.” In answer to his prayer he was purified by the grace of God: “And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with tongs off the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: Behold this hath touched thy lips, and they iniquities shall be taken away, and thy sin shall be cleansed.” (Is. 6:5-7).
When the priest proceeds to the Missal to read the Gospel, the people arise. By this they signify their readiness to stand up for and defend Christ’s teaching. This practice also reminds the faithful that through the Gospel of Christ, man is raised up from sin to newness of life.

An excerpt from part 3, chapter 5 titled “After Mass”:

It is all over now, and you may go back into the busy street and into your own homes. Nothing has changed since you left it all an hour or so ago. Only this has happened: You have stood in the presence of the living God; you have shared in the most sacred and solemn action that it is possible to conceive as taking place on this earth. “He was in the world, and the world knew Him not.” Perhaps until today you were among the number of those who knew Him not. You know Him now. Pray that God may give you grace and courage to follow Him Whom you know to have the words of everlasting life, so that one day you may be numbered among the “sons of God.”

You can purchase this book here.

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