Thursday, January 03, 2008

You Can't go Home

We've all heard the saying that you can't recover the past. In some cases, this is a good thing. For the past eleven years, just before moving to the West Coast, I sat through some very banal, people oriented Novus Ordo Masses that really focussed on horizontal worship. I was in a very liberal diocese, and the Masses were the product of the equation of the last forty years.

Here, I travel forty-five minutes and arrive at the FSSP Tridentine Mass. It is in a NO Church, and there is no choir loft, so the choir groups together in the very back pews to chant the Mass. It is a High Mass, where heaven unfolds its majesty and one is left with the feeling that they have truly witnessed a sacred mystery, one where unseen angels are surrounding the altar, singing beautiful songs of praise and worship as the Heavenly Sacrifice takes place. At this Mass, there really is a sacrifice. Not that there isn't a sacrifice at the Novus Ordo Masses, it's just that with so much focus on the people, the community meal, and the downplaying of all things sacred, it can get pretty hard to remember the Mass is a Sacrifice.

Enter the visit back home to my former liberal diocese for Christmas vacation....One Mass I went to had the people extend their right hand in blessing while they sang some dreadful play school song as the little children were brought to the front and whisked away out of the Church and out of earshot of the Mass. And then there was the hand-holding! I guess I was the only rebel who prayed the Our Father with my hands clasped in prayer at my chest, and I'm glad no one reached for my hand. Even though there were kneelers in the church, they were used sparingly; not one hymn was traditional, in fact, I didn't even recognize any of them.

You know what they say -you can't go home-and that style of worship is, to me, a past not worth recovering.

9 comments:

ignorant redneck said...

I hear that!

last time i went to Mass in my old town, I walked out so irritated AI realized it had become an ocasion of sin.

I tried not to do the hoppy-dippy horizontal thing. I even found an empty spot (not hard to do!) away from others. Some little old lady in stretchpants and a sweatshirt made it her duty to come to mye for every opportunity to touch or hold hands. Yuck.

Since the Agnus Dei was not according to the Liturgical Books, I said it in Latin. The little old Lady looked like she wanted to punch me.

Marilena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marilena said...

oh and just so you know sis, i changed my blog name to Saint Therese's Roses. you might want to update that link of mine on your sidebar when you have time:) i miss you and hope your Christmas and New Years was a lovely one!

+JMJ+ said...

I wrote a post like this once too, but I was a coward and it still sits in my draft box. Just today at our Mom's morning out breakfast after First Saturday Mass, I and a few of my friends were discussing how hard this can be....what a distraction after "falling under the spell" of the sublime TLM.

ACEGC said...

I have experienced the same thing in my own parish. I volunteered to serve at Christmas Eve Mass, which I now regret. I had on my cassock before Mass, and when Father showed up he told me "You're not wearing that" and then said that since I'm not a seminarian I shouldn't have one. Admittedly, it is his right to determine what the servers wear, at least so far as I can tell from the GIRM. So he did do one thing right. After that, it was the typical Mass from this parish--prayers made up, not out of the sacramentary. Hand-holding during the Pater Noster. No kneeling during the Consecration and communion in the hand (Father even told me I couldn't kneel and I had to receive Communion in the hand, since I was serving). This priest goes on for almost a half hour with his homilies, but then rushes through prayers because he has another parish to attend to a half hour away. He even said that he'd do the lavabo himself, since the servers "don't do it right" and it's "quicker if he does it himself." This attitude of the liturgy pervades the entire diocese, and it's causing the diocese to fall apart--add that to a chancery staff predominately made up of liberal holdovers from our Bishop in the 70s, and it's no wonder that we have a vocations crisis. I'm bailing from this diocese; I've been in school in a different diocese in a different state with an orthodox bishop and a presbyterate that cares about the liturgy.

Marilena said...

you know, if more people stood up for tradition and asked for the TLM perhaps the NO Masses would be empty. they are already mainly empty anyways. the church where i go to is a TLM AND its NEVER empty! its more packed than it usually is! your fortunate if you can even find a seat on sundays! most of the time, the laity stands in the hall because the church is too full to seat anymore people. this is no joke. we already had an overflowing of people at our church, and since the Motu Proprio came out, its so full that we have to build another church, and the priests were already considering that anyhow. we already have 2 Masses, and if the church keeps overflowing, we are going to need 3 to accomodate everyone:)

Karin said...

Know the feeling.

It is sad when I step into our old parish, I keep wishing things where different but they never seem to change, same old abuses (YIKES)

AquinaSavio said...

Just for the record, you do not have to be a seminarian to wear a cassock. Five-year-olds wear them while serving at Mass, and I'm sure none of them are seminarians. ;) This is a traditional practice, which is probably why the priest rejected it.

Cygnus said...

There isn't a TLM within 50 miles of me. Nor is there any demand for one since the Motu Proprio was issued, mainly because I don't think anyone in my parish is even aware of it.

So I have nothing to compare the NO to; it's all I've ever had.