Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LMS Holy Week Guide

John Medlin from the LMS sent me page after page of details where Palm Sunday and the Sacred Triduum are being celebrated this year. Check it out here: http://www.latin-mass-society.org/2010/holyweek.pdf
Yes, it is PDF but it is the content that is important.


I must say one of the down sides of Holy Week, for me, is not getting my weekly fix of the TLM, I am becoming quite addicted to it. I actually need it.
I know so many priests who haven't, think those of us who have "discovered" the old Mass are a little over the top about it, when my priests friends hear me going on about it, they chalk it up as yet another of my eccentricities.

I was trying to explain to a group of parishioners why it is important to me. It's the silence.

So much of our Catholic faith is not about words, it is the silent action of God. The silence of the Cross, the silence of the Incarnation, of the Resurrection, the silence of Christ which is so tender, so inviting - eternal.
It is the silence of Aaron entering the Tent of Meeting, of Zachariah ascending to the Holy of Holies. It is something so fundamental to being a priest, it is about standing before God himself holding the Blood of the Lamb, of interceding for the Church and the world of standing alone before God on behalf of the World.

There are lots of things that are beautiful in the Novus Ordo but the silences there are periods of waiting rather than the soul piercing silence of the TLM.
Fathers, remember the LMS course at Ushaw in April.


Amanda said...

What a truly beautiful post!

The Old Mass was the first Mass I ever attended at age 16. I entered the Church, knelt down like everyone else and watched. I was entranced. It felt as if I was in Heaven, and also back, many years back, in the Orthodox Synagogue we would go to when we visited my very religious Grandparents. I could almost feel myself transported back and could hear the soft Hebrew singing of the cantor and I knew, though I didn't have the complete understanding, that a miracle was about to take place, something so heavenly that one could only kneel and adore. The two experiences came together and I realised, more clearly than I ever had before, that the Old had become the New.

It is transcendental, it surpasses anything human and is celestial. And the silence is so important. It is the reverence, the richness and the beauty. It is also the knowledge that this is the Mass of Ages, the Mass which our forefathers celebrated.

Amanda Lewin

Mark said...

I feel I should try a LM. There is something appealing about the history, tradition, of it all. Although I appreciate I will understand very little of what is going on! (I even struggled with French at school.)

gemoftheocean said...

Interesting comments re: the "silence." The one thing I don't like re: the EF Mass is the "silent" canon, is that for us in the pews we can often hear barking dogs outside, crying children inside, the odd lawnmower, (our parish is in the middle of a residential neighborhood), the ice-cream cart with its dingle-a-ling-a-ling, barge horns from the near by San Diego Harbor, and the occasional teenager on a hot summer's evening (some kid not realizing Mass is going on outside) yell to his friend "Hey, Jose, ****, get your *** out here already!" I'd rather hear the priest!

It would be nice if more than the altar servers hear you. I can take these "silences" at a weekday Mass - but I have to say I really want to hear everything on a Sunday, particularly from the preface on. As far as I am concerned, the "Secret" can remain a secret, most of the time, because it's too much of a pain to have to flip the missal to that short passage. So you're welcome to that particular "secret."

Up until the offertory, both forms of the Mass have their trade offs - but I've ALWAYS thought the prayers said during the EF form were always the better choice, post Creed. EF low Mass has an excellent arc to it as far as build up, climax, and denoument (to think in theatrical terms -- no, Mass isn't "theatre" but it undeniably has theatrical properties.)

I've always thought there is a lot of "waiting for something, someone to start/finish" with the NO - I'd assisted with it for 34 years myself -- I notice how down to basics now when I assist the former supply priest at Sunday evening Mass he says at home (he's 81.) Father says Mass in about 23 minutes. About the average length his sermons used to be! I LOVE hearing the words of institution.
I believe the NO is too uneven with the "waiting games" - with the result that it seems that from after the creed through the "Through Him, With Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit..." etc. is shockingly short, without a good build up for the priest and congregation. I want more time to enjoy that in the NO -- it's all too brief. But I like HEARING it though, all the same.

Not that the EF form doesn't have it's "unbalanced" moments for me. I think it takes way to long in the Solemn High Mass to "Get to the meat course!" I have timed the S.H.M. a few times, and it takes on average AN HOUR to hit the offertory. I wish, in particular, the deacon could just turn and face the people and say it, there are heathens and barbarians everywhere, may as well talk to the herd, rather than some mythical barbarians to the "north." In other words, I wish they'd do that bit like the Eastern Rites do. Dignified, but it doesn't add an extra 5 minutes! Then after the hour build up, it takes the rest of the Mass about 45 minutes to complete (assuming a fair number of communicants.) It seems a bit "unbalanced" timewise to me, with an overloaded front.

Whereas the Missa Cantata, is more evenly balanced, though I can see why people sometimes want all the bells and whistles of the real High Mass. Have to admit when I first experienced it again as an adult, I thought the High Mass was beautiful, but then I remember, why, as a small child, for a regular Sunday Mass, we'd avoid it like the plague. It was an inducement not to sleep late on a Sunday. "If you guys don't get moving soon, we'll have to go to the high Mass" -- was a statement that really lit a fire under my dad and me to hit the floor with a purpose.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

A beautiful post Father...I too find myself in need of the silence, the unity with those before us makes it that much more...Of course the Novus Ordo can be celebrated in the same manner, but it's not quite the same

torchofthefaith said...

Dear Father

Yes, this is a beautiful post and many thanks for posting it!

It is marvellous to see the High Altar at St. Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw being used once again. What a heartening photograph.

Having been a student there for a couple of years in the late 1990's when the place was a kind of Gulag for orthodox students, this is especially heartening.

In those dark days Mass often took place on scattered beanbags and kneeling for the Consecration (of crumbling loaves) was banned...

There are many other horror stories that are perhaps best left in the Heart of God lest people are scandalised. Think Goodbye, Good Men with an English accent...

A good friend who lived through those painful days calls the Mass at the LMS Conference the Healing Mass! Having suffered gravely in my mind and soul for the last 10 years, from the deep damage of those years, I fully relate to the term.

Indeed, your mention of silence strikes a chord. For the last few years, the only peace this side of heaven is when I attend the Traditional Latin Mass. In that sublime mystery the silence offers deep interior peace and healing encounter with the Mystery of Christ.

It is great to hear of more and more priests learning to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the Extraordinary Form.

Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Thank you for making a broken man very happy.

God bless
Alan Houghton

Damien said...

"The soul piercing silence of the TLM". What a wonderful expression Father.

MC Man said...

I agree Father the silence and reverance displayed in a Low Mass by server and congregation is something that I really miss in an ordinary form Mass,too many bodys wandering about before Mass clutching sheets of paper, people stopping to chat before the start of mass its like waiting for a film to start.With Low Mass we can concentrate on the celebrant and the Mass.

Richard said...

How splendid that there are so many of them.

Of course more are always welcome, and there are huge parts of the country still with no realistic provision, but how much better than just five years ago!

Let us thank the Holy Father.

Telesia said...

Mark...a suggestion to help overcome your 'concerns' about attending a TLM...purchase a missal..Latin and English. You will find like Father Blake you cannot live without this Mass..you need it!

mikesview said...

Father, I agree you and with all the 'posters' who speak of the beautiful silence of the TLM. Oh, and if people want to answer the responses, could they please do so in a whisper, audible to themselves alone? That way they can pray the entire Mass with the priest (Pius XII recommended it, didn't he?), if that's what they want, joining in the 'holy mutter'. But there never has been a question of 'joining in with the server'; doesn't he 'represent the people'? NO, he DOES NOT; the priest can say a perfectly valid Mass by himself, if need be.
I respectfully suggest that gemoftheocean do most of his Missal-reading as homework. Then at Mass, just put the book aside and just let the whole thing flow over him. The Mass is a sacrifice, a thing that is DONE, rather than read. So we watch rather than merely hear.
As to the distracting noises, we all suffer from them. So does the priest and probably Almighty God himself. The answer to the problem, as so often, is more prayer life. It works. Then, if babies cry, just 'let it go'. After all, it's what they're designed to do. I envy them their lungs!! I imagine them as trying to make a Low Mass into a Missa Cantata. But whatever else, the sacrifice of the Mass has to be made in the world as it is, i.e., an imperfect world.
I think it's amusing that you were told that if you didn't hurry you'd have to go to the Sung/High Mass later. Almost as some sort of punishment!! Personally I can't go to enough High Masses. I would think most TLM devotees take the same view.