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.