Monday, July 16, 2007

Participation


The first time I went to a Traditional Latin Mass, I didn't really know what to expect. I had been going to the Novus Ordo Mass faithfully for eleven years, and being so used to the active participation of the Novus Ordo, I really noticed the difference. There were no responses to say, and I remember thinking there wasn't much participation at the TLM. I never felt "involved." At Communion, I must have been the only one to say, "Amen." Still, I left there realizing that I had participated in an act of worship that was unlike anything I ever experienced at the Novus Ordo Mass I go to. I started thinking about this; the participation being on a spiritual level rather than a physical level.

The second time I attended the TLM, I didn't even think about the lack of active participation. I welcomed the solitude of sacred silence, and the beauty and reverence of every gesture and prayer of the priest. It was possible to actually pray while the Sacred Mysteries were unfolding on the altar! There were no distractions to interrupt my silent conversation with God, and nothing to prevent me from paying attention to what was happening on the altar. The choir sounded like angels praising God, and I realized that this is the closest we will ever get to heaven on earth, and I understood why it is called the Mass of the Ages.

Participation at Mass should come from the soul, when we unite ourselves to God in the Sacred Mysteries, and is echoed beautifully in the words of Pope St. Pius X:
The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the altar. When acting in this way you have prayed the Holy Mass.

- His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X

5 comments:

Unitas said...

I feel this is exactly what Benedict was talking about in Sacramentum Caritatis about active participation, that it must first come from within and then externalize. And that intrinsic participation is what matters; the primacy participation of the spirit over the participation of the body.

It's that participation that validates that of the body. And sometimes it doesn't even really need to externalize at all. And there should be strict coreography for the laity just to show they're involved.

Just because you're going through the motions doesn't mean your spirit or your head's in the game.

Feathered Friends said...

Amen to what pope st. pius x said!

318@NICE said...

Great observation. The Mass from the ancient Church was and is still today based upon theology from Scripture. For example, in the OT there was a distinction between the priests and the laity. And it was only the priest who could mediate for the people. And so when a priest entered into the holie of holies on behalf of the laity, the laity prayed while the priest interceded for the people, see Luke 1.
And so where the tabernacle is on the holy Altar, there is the sanctuary where Christ is. This is the reason for all the prepatory prayers by the priest before stepping up to the altar, that's why there is always a step a few feet in front of the altar.
The priest is praying for us and interceding for us as authorized by Christ (for there is a difference between clergy and laity - although in the NO they are trying hard to erase that).
He is getting the gifts from God and gives them to us. that's why his back is turned to us, because he is going before Christ. He cannot turn is back on Christ, for if he turns his back on Christ the whole time, then he becomes Christ and there is no intercession, but we are going to our priest directly and the priest is only coming to us, no one is going to Christ.
But in the Latin rite, the priest receives and then turns to us and gives to us. Then the climax is the blessed Eucharist.
Dave

AquinaSavio: said...

AMEN!!!!

AquinaSavio: said...

BTW, I linked to this article! I hope you don't mind. :)