Monday, August 31, 2009

"You're Already a Traditionalist, You Just Don't Know it Yet..."

This is what my wife has been telling one of her best friends for years when their conversations inevitably turn to the overall lack of reverence that one becomes accustom to in our diocese. Her girlfriend and her husband have shared in our same frustration for years. These conversations they have tend to always enable my wife to segue into what has become her pat answer to anyone who raises such concerns over Eucharist desecration and indifference. "You know, you really need to check out the Latin Mass..." She does this with the patience of St. Monica, knowing full and well that this could be the conversation killing, friendship ending, "you know that 'nypd green' family...I always knew they were overboard..." comment that can change relationships in a single breath... or it can open up a new doorway into a deeper Eucharistic devotion, one that any Catholic with a belief in the True Presence is searching for. What price we pay to Evangelize...

I'm quite familiar with the justifications for not attending the TLM that her girlfriend would give, because I've given them all myself. "I don't know if this is for me", "I can't follow the Latin Mass", "yada-yada-yada...". Yes, going to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form can be intimidating, but just like sitting behind the wheel of a car for the first time, once you do it, you know you'll be behind that wheel again. That liberating feeling you had as a teen, being able to run to the store without a parent taking you, has just been given to your Faith, one thousandfold. THIS is what anyone lamenting the lack of Holiness at a Novus Ordo Mass is seeking.

It's funny, I look at today's Catholic and I see a bunch of good folks seeking an identity. They think they can define it themselves by putting their own stamp on what it is to be Catholic. Much like a middle age guy getting his first tattoo (or goatee? Just a little self effacing humor there...) we are trying to redefine and make relevant, what is already BEYOND relevancy and very DISTINCTIVELY defined. Youth Masses, Gospel Masses, Spanish Masses, CLOW... all these gimmicks and countless others have cropped up to try and 'sell' the NO Mass since the Latin Mass was all but abandoned. I'm sorry, but these 'pitches' are the equivalent of holding a piece of gold in your hands and asking someone if they'd like to buy a some bronze. If one says they believe in the True Presence, how can one see any way of offering the Mass as more fitting than the Mass in its Extraordinary Form? I've heard it said, (and I've said it myself) "I'd prefer a reverent NO Mass". Yes, of course I'd take that if it were my only option, but you show me someone standing by that assessment and I'll show you someone who is either a tad bit intimidated by the TLM or they are a little more attached to the 'ME' aspect of the Novus Ordo Mass than they realize or care to admit. As Father said in his homily last night, "we are about to go to the foot of Calvary". This is something that I always believed to be true at the Novus Ordo. But it has become something that I KNOW to be true at the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

As for my wife's friend, she finally attended a Latin Mass last night. The first one at St. Mary's in downtown Wilmington in years. I'm also happy, though not in the least surprised that she is now sold on the TLM. No shocker there, this is a lady who stands up for the truth just like my wife does. If you seek the Truth, you'll find it. She did and I know will be back. We also had some other very close friends show up last night. They couldn't get over what they'd been missing all these years either. In fact, their 14 year old daughter had just finished a book on the Mystery of the Eucharist and the Mass had a profound effect on her. Their 12 year old son was very moved as well, his one issue was following the Latin. I view that as a good thing, a 12 year old young man who wants to follow the Mass? Do I see a future Altar Boy in the making? ...or a Priest? Could be... At the very least I know this is a family ignited by what they participated in last night. My brother-in-law, another former NYPD officer who now works for our local department was also deeply moved as well. His offer to usher last night was rewarded in the deeper view of the Eucharist he now holds from this one experience.

So, despite the petty attempts to disrupt (the AC trick was very predictable, I didn't think the older woman who collapsed when going to receive thought it was funny though), it was truly a glorious evening. I'm sure I'll be hearing others relate their experiences, as the Mass attendance was well beyond our expectation. I'm sure that many others last night, received not only the deeper connection with the Eucharist we all seek, but also learned a little bit about the Catholic identity they've been seeking as well. It was never gone, just placed on the shelf for a spell. Hopefully, it's back for good.

Saint Michael the Archangel...

...Defend Us in Battle!!!


Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

You know one of the many things I love about TLM?

I don't have to blab blab blab through the whole mass! With the NO it's non-stop talking! I really don't like that one bit ~ how can I become reverent when I keep getting yanked out of my concentration to babble yet another rote prayer???

I'm sorry but I don't find the NO way of saying the beautiful prayers of the mass to be in any way reverent. They are either just spoken or they are sung in some dumb happy-clappy manner. No thanks. It makes me feel like all I'm doing is mindless droning.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

New to the blog and finding it interesting. I'm Roman Catholic and I'm not happy about the turn the church is making. I find the Eucharist to be reverent in mass where I attend church at a Catholic Elementary school gym. Some of the changes I feel are hurtful to the congregation (and notice I'm not commenting directly on the Latin mass as I've not attended one). For instance, the Archdiocese of Raleigh this past year stated that parishoners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Little changes like that, as they continue, I'm afraid will make the church seem a unfriendly rather than like a family. The church I used to attend in NC already had a reputation as being an unwelcoming parish. People rarely wanted to offer peace to people they didn't know and if they did it was very short. The congregation used to stretch between the isles to hold hands for the Lord's Prayer. It was expected. Now that it has ended, I find it disturbing.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

First off, welcome to the Lair! Hope you enjoy the ride.

OK, in regards to holding hands, I'd like to ask a few questions of you. First off, I must ask -- why are you holding hands to begin with? As a sign of "unity"? That's why we have The Eucharist. Protestants will never understand that. They have no option but to fall back on that hand holding silliness.

Next, I ask you to look objectivly on this... the second you reach over to the folks to the left and right of you, didn't the focus just come OFF God?

Little changes like authorizing holding hands, have slowly but surely degraded vertical worship in favor of horizontal worship. Just look at the subtle way many hymns have the words "I", "me", "we>, "us", etc, etc. The focus is constantly being shifted to the people, vice The Lord.

Especially for us so-called "Trads", Mass shouldn't be all about us. It's all about God. And when I say "all about..." that's exactly what I mean! :-)

Hope you keep coming back, Lauren!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

NYPD Gree,
What a powerful and beautiful post. God bless your wife.

Yes, how can anyone who says the believe in the Real Presence tolerate the nonense of the typical NO Mass? I grew up with the Latin Mass (the ONLY Mass at the time -- thank God) and actually thought the NO was supposed to work. After all, we had been raised to believe that when Rome spoke... Only later did I discover that the modernists and Roman Protestants had hijacked the Council and inserted changed never anticipated by the Vatican.

Unable to stand the lack of reverence to Our Lord, I took refuge in the Eastern Catholic rite for nearly five yrs until returning fulltime to the TLM! It was great to be back home!

God bless your efforts in NC!!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

oops, sorry, that was supoosed to be GREEN!

5:11 PM  
Blogger THE HERESY HUNTER said...

NYPD - Another excellent post. Thank you. It was also good to hear the effect the TLM had on the daughter/son of your wife's friend.

VSC - I very much liked your discerning response to Lauren. The vertical vs. horizontal explanation was brilliant. P.S. The Scamps sends his regards.

Go, Cavemen, go!

6:45 PM  
Blogger nypd green said...

Hi Lauren!

How in the world did you ever stumble across THIS blog!? I'll have to say, the Mass I attended last night was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I ushered so I sat in the back, near several people who I consider very dear friends and a brother in law who I consider a true brother. I did not exchange words with these people during Mass as our focus was on the miracle we were taking part in. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. My wife sat with our seven children and other than maintaining order of the troops, spoke nary a word. Little babies in the congregation fussed, yet not a dirty stare was cast. The focus was on the Mass. We were honoring God with our full attention, adoration and prayer. I could not think of better fellowship.

After Mass, I met many a new face, had numerous, wonderful conversations and went home with my family with the sense that I met many a real Catholic, ones who are living their Faith 24/7. Not the folks who would not sit anywhere near me at the beginning of Mass, yet are bounding over pew and kneeler now to shake my hand in an orchestrated gesture of peace.

I'd love to see you check it out for yourself, next Latin Mass at Saint Mary's is September 27th, 7PM.

God Bless

7:40 PM  
Blogger Dirtdartwife said...

I will have to humbly admit that the more I visit here, the more I'm being drawn to TLM. Looks like you're in my AO and I'm putting it on my calendar to try to make it.

Thanks for sharing so openly, honestly and with a bluntness that I find refreshing.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

" For instance, the Archdiocese of Raleigh this past year stated that parishoners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Little changes like that, as they continue,

...I'm afraid will make the church seem a unfriendly rather than like a family."

You are obviously not focusing on what only matters at mass.

We don't attend mass in order to be "friendly" to one another and create an environment of "friendliness" either.

The only environment that should exist is one of such incredible awe while in the presence of God that you want to fall on your face and sob because of your unworthiness to be there.

We don't attend mass so that we can feel like one big family. We're not there to hold hands ~ we are there to **worship God**

As a matter of fact, our emotions and feeeeeelings have *nothing* to do with mass. Save those for coffee hour after mass.

We are there at mass to give Christ, and Christ alone, all of our attention and our time. We're not there to feel good about ourselves or enjoy the warm fuzzy vibes we get when we see one another. As a matter of fact, any Catholic should be able to attend mass alone without any change in their feeeeeelings.

We are at mass for Christ and Christ ONLY ~ and if anything, from holding hands to sappy hymns, to performances around the altar, does anything to pull our focus away from Christ then it is time to clean house.

Regardless of how "hurtful" that might be to the congregation. To bad.

Long and the short of it: People need to grow up and figure out if they are Catholic or not Catholic. Being Catholic is not some kind of sliding scale between "Traditionalist" and "Modern."

You are either there to worship Christ or you are there worshipping *yourself*. Figure it out and move on.

If you attend mass for anything other then Christ and Christ alone then YOU need to get yourself in line and quit whining about being hurt and feeling like the environment isn't friendly enough.

End of story.

7:13 AM  

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