Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mass(ive) Changes

So, this past Sunday the church underwent some changes to the liturgy. We had been prepping for it for a long time. In fact the last few weeks at our parish we  practiced and rehearsed the changes to be especially ready. Since I am supportive of the changes and have been looking forward to them, I was certain I had a leg up on the situation (I'm pretty sure Fred was of the same mind). After all, it wasn't like we were going from one language to another- Or having to change the position of everything in the whole church including the priest- this would be a snap! We were even given a cheat sheet in the pews as an accompaniment to the new missal! Can you say lay-up?

The next question you should be asking me is how many of the responses I actually got right. I am ashamed to tell you I failed in grand fashion on my first new mass test. It seemed to make absolutely no difference what-so-ever that  I was thinking about what I should say, and holding the card directly in front of my face, all the wrong words spilled out repeatedly all mass long. Fred leaned over to me at one point and said "Get ready there's another one coming in a second!" and I STILL got the words wrong. EPIC MASS FAIL!

I think it just goes to show you how difficult changes actually are. Our faith is so familiar to us, that to have to think about the words we are saying is like trying to teach you how to brush your teeth or comb your hair . We do it so automatically, and hopefully not in a knee-jerk, mind-numbed manner; but rather from a deep comfort level that makes our faith something sturdy and dependable, like breathing in and out.

Which of course has me thinking a whole lot to the generation that came before us and had to undergo not simple changes like we do, but really radical ones like a new language and priests facing in the wrong direction etc. I grew up on the Novus Ordo mass and for a long time I really didn't 'get' why anyone would want to go to a Latin Mass? Latin? Really? Hmmm? You wouldn't even know what was being said- would you? Being so unfamiliar with it made me kind of scratch my head. Curious isn't it?

Then I actually went to one. I don't know how to explain this except to say WOW!!!! I was really happy to be there. The main difference to me was not the language, I am familiar enough with the mass parts to know WHAT was happening. What I really found striking was that I didn't have to work so hard. It was enough to sit and drink in the actions and join myself  to them in silent prayer. It was beautiful and lovely and silent and holy. I know that happens at mass every time we pray well and when our heart is properly disposed, but it just seemed easier there.  

So what now has me scratching my head is not why anyone would want to go to a Latin mass any longer, but why we don't offer it in the traditional form more often?  And for the life of me I cannot figure out why so many  'outlawed' the Latin Mass for the people who always thought it was beautiful? What harm could possibly come from saying the Mass in the traditional form? (And no I am not speaking about schismatic sects here,  but the real legitimate thing) How did the mass that was around for hundreds of years, the mass of the saints, suddenly need special permission to be said? 

Anyway, that is what I've been thinking about since Sunday. And no, I am not a Traddie.  And yes, I like the changes. And yes, they really are bigger changes than I ever anticipated. They are, in fact massive.   

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