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The TLM Demands More and Delivers More…… September 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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……..much, much more!

Before I begin excerpting Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s excellent post comparing the TLM, as predominately offered today (very well and reverently), and the Novus Ordo, as predominately offered today (poorly), I will point out, as Dr. K does, that there are rare examples of the Novus Ordo, offered in Latin, that offer many of the same benefits as does the TLM (while making many of the same “demands,” as well).  I have been blessed to assist at Novus Ordos offered in Latin that feature the Asperges and with the priest facing the tabernacle, speaking lowly in Latin during the consecration and with bells and smells lifted from the TLM, and both my family and I derived great spiritual fruit from this.  You could easily say the NO in Latin was a quite beneficial and necessary step for us on the way to the TLM.

However, while I don’t wish to be accused of “typical” Trad pridefulness, I do believe that, even when offered as beautifully and reverently as possible, the Novus Ordo in Latin does not quite reach the standard of the TLM in terms of fruitfulness for souls and benefits not only for the life of the Church, but for the world at large.  There were simply too many changes.  Even the Canon was not left untouched, and most sadly, the very words of the Consecration.  Also less beneficial were the massive changes to the readings, and especially the deliberate excision of “problematic” parts of Scripture, the ones that speak of condemnation, blasphemy, even damnation, or – horror of horrors – which point to the Church as the unique body instituted by God for salvation.

But, having said that, if Francis or some other evil force were to somehow abrogate the TLM tomorrow and get all the bishops and priests to go along – if the TLM disappeared – I could probably get by without much ill effect on the best NO in Latin I ever experienced, one that even, perhaps against the “rules,” but of enormous benefit for souls, lifted a few bits of the TLM back into the NO – like the Canon and consecration (yes, that happened).  This assumes basically the situation I encountered, that of a fully orthodox priest who desperately desired to offer the TLM but was barred by diocesan regulations – though I understand he is back to offering Mass ad orientem again, now that a certain Cardinal who stopped him from doing so is out of this diocese.

At any rate, to portions of Kwasniewski’s post, about what the TLM demands, but, even more, what it delivers:

We have probably all met people who are thinking of attending the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis and who, when they actually start going, are struck by how much extra effort it costs. Perhaps we ourselves once felt the same way.

For starters, you are expected to kneel for long stretches of time. There is a lot of silence to get used to (and, if you are a parent, to keep your children relatively quiet in). Sometimes there are lengthy readings, chants, or prayers that may test your patience and stretch to the limit your capacity for meditation. You might be confused about what words the priest or the schola is saying or singing, because the hand missal you picked up from a bookcase in the foyer is over a thousand pages long, and you haven’t figured out how to use it yet. So much is strange, even overwhelming; sometimes it seems random. And the whole of a High Mass might last for an hour and a half or even longer, depending on the solemnity of the rite or the volubility of the preacher. Everyone dresses up more; women are expected to wear veils; the atmosphere is more serious. An eager devotee might volunteer the information that Catholics who come to Mass here often try to observe either the three-hour Eucharistic fast or the fast from midnight. The usus antiquior is premised on asceticism and a reverential beauty in no hurry to be done. This Mass demands a lot of you and your family, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Is it worth the effort?

On the other hand, going to the Novus Ordo can be such a breeze………[I’ll skip the explanation.  He means, a breeze, in the sense of making few demands in terms of personal effort]

[Onto the benefits of the TLM]……First, you come to realize that even after years of attending the Novus Ordo, you had not developed much of a “liturgical interior life”—that is, the ability to rest in the mysteries shining forth in the Mass, to absorb the prayers or Scripture texts, to connect deeply with the Real Presence of the Savior. The usus antiquior makes ample room for the growth of the spiritual life at the pace and in the way most suited to each individual, offering many helps or “handles” for penetrating into the marvels of the Eucharist and of the Church’s liturgical year. It gives you a lot more to pray about and a lot more room to pray in.

After experiencing this for a while, it can be like a shower with ice-cold water to return to the Novus Ordo and discover that it is pretty much a non-stop extroverted exchange from start to finish, with now the priest speaking, now the congregation, always “something doing,” and never, or rarely ever, an expanse for resting, absorbing, connecting. Even though the classical liturgy has a lot more going on in its minutiae, it operates on broader lines at a more leisurely pace—an inheritance from the ancient Mediterranean world and the monastery-rich Middle Ages……..

………..Second, at the traditional Mass you start to notice a plethora of little things that serve as windows to the infinite and eternal: the priest kissing the altar time and again; the bowing of heads at certain phrases in the Gloria or the Credo; many signs of the cross made at significant moments; the clink of thurible chains and floating clouds of sweet smoke; the subdeacon holding the paten under the humeral veil; the pregnant silence of the Canon; the lifting of the chasuble at the elevations; the many ringings of bells; the corps of servers with straight backs and folded hands; the touching of sacred vessels and of Christ’s holy Body by ordained ministers alone…. All these little things (and the list could go on) are so many signs or calls of love from God, who is drawing us with exquisite gentleness into the depths of His mystery, preparing us for our beatitude with Him. He would never wish to give us anything less than the fullness of the orthodox Faith, in the fullness of its sacral expression.

(“Now wait a minute,” you may say; “can we not sometimes find the same little things in the Novus Ordo, too?” Yes, you might find some of them, on a good day, if you’re lucky.[1] The problem is that they rarely appear in that context, and when they do, it is with the slightly awkward feel of strangers who have arrived at a casual party vastly over-dressed. [There is something to this.  I don’t mean to insult anyone’s preferences, but even at the very best Latin NO there was a little sense that all the pomp and reverence was something of an affectation – and at the very worst it was obvious.The NO was intended to be a Mass in the vernacular, and offering it in Latin comes across, at times, a bit false.]……..

………Third, by immersing oneself in the ancient Roman liturgy, one’s identity as a Catholic, and the content of Catholicism, becomes thicker and richer. With the aid of good illustrated books, sound catechesis at home, and patient parenting, your children will have the opportunity to become more fully Catholic, too, and their unspoken sense of the reality of the Faith, the powerful reality of the things we say we believe (such as the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament), will grow. This, in itself, is worth all that it takes to get to the traditional Mass: children will be confronted again and again with unequivocal signs of the holiness of God, the dignity of priests, the set-apart sacredness of the sanctuary, the altar as a place of sacrifice, and the special privilege of receiving the Lord from the anointed hands of His minister, as we kneel along the altar rail to receive the precious Body of Jesus. [This is something I do see: it’s not universal, but there is frequently a connection children make to the TLM that I’ve simply never seen in the NO of any stripe, no matter how good.  You will see little boys literally playing priest at home, asking their moms to make them little chasubles to wear.  Their brothers will help “assist” at the play mass, and sisters will be the congregation.  Children start paying better attention to Mass at a younger age, in my experience, too.]

The traditional liturgy is like the old catechism writ large, in vivid characters, imprinting fundamental truths on the souls of those who attend it—truths for which there is little obvious support in the Novus Ordo, with its democratic permeable barriers that allow laypeople and clergy to mix roles and functions, its positioning of the priest versus populum as a “presider” at a social event, its treatment of the altar as a table, its dearth of signs and symbols to catch hold of and elevate the mind, its nearly institutionalized use of substandard church music, its lack of intrinsic silence, its encouragement of informal attitudes, and much else besides.  If we want to avoid all this, we must not dither and second-guess. We must make up our minds to attend the Church’s traditional liturgy, which enshrines the totality of Catholic dogma and responds to man’s deepest religious needs. Whatever our vocation is, whatever our state in life, whatever the state of our soul, we stand to receive a treasure infinitely greater than any sacrifice we might make in order to obtain it. If we are parents with children, we are greatly increasing the possibility that God may give our families the greatest gift after the Most Holy Eucharist, namely, a vocation to priestly or religious life—a vocation that the traditional liturgy awakens in a disproportionate number of its adherents. [So true – the number of vocations from TLMs compared to Novus Ordo is exponentially higher – by percentage of souls attending who follow their vocation.]

An awakening to the interior life; the finding of dozens of new paths to the knowledge and love of God; the enrichment of one’s identity and faith as a Catholic—this is what the extra effort of attending the traditional Mass wins for you. Is it worth it? Can we say that this is a “reasonable” demand for modern people?

Maybe that is the wrong question to ask, for the truth is better than we expect or deserve. The tradition makes foolish, unreasonable demands because it aims not at our comfort but at our divinization. Its aims at passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, and efficaciously accomplishes them. We would do well to follow this narrow way that leads to abundant life.

Thanks to MFG for the link.

I know a few folks who tried the TLM once or twice and did not feel comfortable. It is an enormous change.  But it is so very much worth the effort.  And if you’ve had a bad experience, if you felt lost or not welcomed enough, please, try again.  Locally, at any rate, there are strong efforts underway to try to make newcomers feel as welcome and involved as possible.  Especially if you go to the 9am High Mass on Sunday.

For those who have never been, it is truly an experience every Catholic should have a serious exposure to – and by serious, I mean, attending at least 3 or 4 times in relatively short succession.  If you still don’t like it after that, so be it – and there are a few, I must admit, especially those of the generation that were taught that the TLM was really bad and just had to be replaced, for their own good – but you owe it to yourself to try it, even at the cost of some effort (one which Dr. K does not mention – often very long travel times, and in other dioceses, inconvenient hours).

Out of time.  2000 words anyway.  You got your fill!

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Comments

1. Faith of Our Fathers - September 28, 2017

Without doubt the T L M is more fervent. Even in the N.O . Mass one thing should never have been changed. Kneeling to receive The Eucharist.

2. Tim - September 28, 2017

We have been exclusively TLM since 2000 and with a variety of settings, SSPX, FSSP, ICK and dioscean. Not once have I ever witnessed a newcomer being even remotely treated in an unwelcoming fashion. I think it is just an excuse to not deal with the demands that the True Mass and True Faith place upon you. The Novus Ordo and Vatican 2 faith make no such demands…..most people naturally gravitate to ease and comfort, myself included. It was a grace from God that made me realize that I must adhere to what was there on my “Damascus moment” during tbe Aspereges on Sunday, July 30, 2000 if I was going to be trult Catholic. That decision has not been easy. It has eroded family and friend relationships because we were seen as and told that we were going overboard and to lighten up. Novus Ordo folks by and large hate it when people leave it to go to the TLM as it pricks their consciences. Of course we were also “guilty” of deciding to homeschool, so it was a double dose that they just couldn’t deal with. It is the Novus Ordo crowd that is guilty of “southern comfort ” tactics. You’re welcome as long as you tow the line. Any deviation results in attack or shunning. By their fruits you shall know them.


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