I have been reflecting on my Silver Jubilee recently, when I was so very fortunate to be able to celebrate Mass in the Traditional Form in the presence of family and friends, parishioners, brother priests and my Archbishop.
It was a such a beautiful Mass, the music and the graceful form of the liturgy raising hearts and minds as well as giving true acknowledgement to the profound mystery that the Mass always celebrates. The flow of the liturgy done well is truly freeing, setting the spirit free to soar up to the Lord and to allow Him to enter into the individual heart. I was so pleased that so many young servers took part in the Mass and are able to serve this Traditional Form and that so many parishioners have rediscovered the beauty of silence and dignity in the House of God. It was particularly interesting to receive letter from non-Catholics present and from those who had not before experienced this form of the Mass to say how uplifting they had found it. A truly "extraordinary" experience!
I was born in 1964, so have no recall of growing up with the Traditional Mass before the changes, so its not that I hankered after some past memory. Yet, even without knowing what it was I reached for, I always gravitated towards what I now know is the age-old worship of the Church. It is the Mass, celebrated with reverence and dignity, that has sustained me through good times and bad.
Because being a given, with a given form, it doesn't pander to any one emotion or temporary fixation. The Traditional liturgy doesn't presume everyone in the church is happy or that they are in difficulties - it just IS. So if I am happy, I pour my joy into it, if I am struggling, I empty my suffering into it. The given form gives those present such a flexibility in meeting each individual where they are and not imposing a rigid dictatorship of relativity on the congregation at the whim of someone else. Contrary to human intuition, the outward structure and form is liberating for the spirit.
Surely, such an experience of worship should not be an exception but a treasure open to all? Of course, like all treasures, it needs to be sought after and discovered. The burden of years can, no doubt, mean that some give up the struggle of searching and settle for being tied to a certain way of prayer they have become used to. The wealth of our truly Catholic spirituality is truly beautiful; it seems such a shame when Catholics ignore so much of it. Dig, dig and find what has been hidden. The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints. (Col 1:26)
The whole point of the Mass is that it is extraordinary - as with all the wonders of salvation.
For those of faith, the extraordinary becomes ordinary for us - but is should never become mundane!
Lest we fail to allow ourselves to be surprised by God.
Ad maioren Dei gloriam!
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