On the Traditional Latin Mass, Liturgical Abuse and Suffering …


Traditional Latin Mass - Liturgical Beauty

Traditional Latin Mass by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, available from http://fssp.org.


I have just returned from Holy Mass with the Institute of Christ the King, here in Madrid. The Institute is one of the traditional Catholic societies of priests devoted to the Latin Mass.

I feel so nourished by this Mass. So deeply nourished, physically and spiritually, that my soul is singing.

Nourished by the beauty of the chapel. Nourished by the beauty of the vestments and altar. Nourished by the beauty of the liturgy. And of course nourished by the floods of Sanctifying Grace, bestowed upon us as we participate in the traditional Latin Mass.

To receive Holy Communion in this way, at the traditional or Extraordinary Form of the Mass is like being in heaven itself.

And yet, as I was reminded by a priest the other day, such expressions of the Tradition are very much ‘minority’ these days. In other words, most Catholics do not partake in or experience the Traditional Latin Mass.

Now, Roger wrote recently of the Sanctifying Grace of daily communion – a practice that I too follow. Yet, to receive this daily Sanctifying Grace, I suffer.

I suffer, because I do not have the funds or the time, because of family and work, to make the two hour return journey to and from the Institute of Christ the King Mass each day.

This means, that if I want to receive daily communion, I must attend the local Novus Ordo Mass, as well. As I say, this causes me to suffer.

For, whilst I feel so deeply nourished and bathed in sanctifying grace with the traditional liturgy, I unfortunately often feel stripped by the modern liturgy.

So, why do I go? Because, however much I may feel stripped by the liturgy, the bare altars, or appalling architecture, I notice a radical difference in myself, when I don’t receive Holy Communion daily.

Now, there are many priests and bishops including the Holy Father, who celebrate the modern Mass with dignity and reverence. And there are many beautiful churches in which this liturgy is practiced.

Yet, the local church that is most accessible to us, lacks beauty altogether. In fact, it is quite abrasive to the senses. And the liturgy I’m afraid, is mediocre and banal. The Sanctus is sung here to the tune of Help by the Beatles.

Yet, if I do not receive daily communion, my heart feels less charitable, for I do not feel so close to our Lord.

I used to feel angry at what could be termed liturgical abuses. Each time the priest left the altar or sanctuary during Holy Mass, each time the priest omitted part of the liturgy, each time a pop song was sung, or the Sanctus sung to a pop tune …

I would become hot and begin to fume.

Then, I met a priest, a priest, who is struggling so much, as his spirit is with the Tradition, yet he is the Curé of a large French parish.

When this priest spoke to me of his involvement with his diocese as a whole, he said that he really suffered. He suffered the Masses administered by other priests, who prefer the modern liturgy. Whilst I fumed, he suffered.

This helped me so much, as I felt ‘Yes’, this is what Our Lord did on the Cross, He suffered. He did not fume. He suffered the wrongs.

When this priest spoke these words, “I suffer”, it penetrated my heart and has become a practice for me.

So now, when I begin to feel the heat rising, I attempt to feel the pain of what is happening, in my heart. And when I succeed, I become soft and tender, weeping silent tears, rather than becoming bitter and hard.

Again, it does not mean that what is happening is okay – far from it. This liturgical abuse is serious.

Yet, I think it better to attempt to be like Our Lord and respond through suffering, as He did on the Cross. And to meditate profoundly on His words: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”.

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  1. Posted 11 May 2010 at 17:53 | Permalink

    god bless.keep the faith-you have the true faith in abundance.philipjohnson.

  2. Edwin Shendelman
    Posted 11 May 2010 at 23:07 | Permalink

    like raindrops falling into the ocean of mercy
    what we suffer offer up
    in the Fire of the Sacred Heart
    who said
    “I AM”

  3. Posted 12 May 2010 at 20:18 | Permalink

    beautiful – I’ve been starting to think along similar lines recently as well. Not just about at Mass but at work, etc. as well – don’t always live up to it but (really) knowing this different way of thinking has a very enriching affect on one’s life.
    Thank you Kim

  4. Mary
    Posted 13 May 2010 at 01:53 | Permalink

    “So, why do I go? Because, however much I may feel stripped by the liturgy, the bare altars, or appalling architecture, I notice a radical difference in myself, when I don’t receive Holy Communion daily.”

    Wow, you explained in two sentences what I struggled to explain to myself for years. Thank you. I suffer too, but lately I have begun to pray the Rosary during Mass and that really does help. I don’t always; it just depends. On the bright side, we do have a beautiful church, and I can gaze across it at the statue of Our Lady or to the golden tabernacle to help myself focus.

  5. kim
    Posted 15 May 2010 at 16:11 | Permalink

    Philip, Edwin, Epsilon, Mary,

    Thank you all, for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

    Thank you Philip for your continued enthusiasm and support. And Edwin for your beautiful poetic words, that fall like rose petals to the ground. And you as well, Epsilon, and I wonder if you mean you too suffer as you look at the mediocre and banal everywhere – not simply at Church?

    And Mary, I am SO glad to have been of help to you.

    Although I feel warmed and flattered by each of your words, what touches me most is that I seem to be successfully communicating. That I am managing to reach people with what I write. That is so important for me.

    To continue from my last blog and what you perhaps evoked Epsilon …

    Whilst I look upon this modern world, with its ugly, materialistic, technological emphases, what I am most concerned about, is that these modern emphases are destroying the most important and beautiful gifts from God, Holy Mother Church and Holy Mass.

    And as I suffer the abuses to this most Holy of rites, I wonder about my fuming. I wonder about CLEAN anger, anger without bitterness and resentment. For Our Lord threw the money lenders out of the temple, because He was angry at their exploitation and desecration of the Holy of Holies.

    How do I best follow His example for the protection of the Holy Temple, Our Church?

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