So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"Old School" is Cool!

If you haven't been to an Extraordinary Form Mass, frequently called the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) or Mass of the Ages, then go! Get thee to a nunnery parish that offers the TLM.

The TLM is old school liturgy. A first encounter can be disconcerting. Letting go of the reigns helps. Just take it in. Most parishes provide booklets that offer directions. Keep in mind the parts of the Liturgy that are easily distinguishable in both forms: the approach (Opening rites/Penitential Rite: Kyrie; Gloria; Collect); Liturgy of the Word (i.e., Liturgy of the Catechumens: Scripture readings); Homily; Creed; Liturgy of the Eucharist (Offertory; Sanctus/Benedictus; Consecration; Communion Rite). Go with the flow: sit and stand with the rest of the congregation. The TLM is first and foremost about Jesus Christ and the heart rightly oriented to Him. The Ordinary Form is supposed to be that, too! Isn't it odd that a liturgy—the Ordinary Form—which is so much simpler and direct than the TLM has become so cluttered with useless innovations added on by inept window dressers?

Old school is what culture needs.

The wisdom of our elders is embedded in every nook and cranny of the TLM. It should not surprise that a culture that cannot listen to its elders is eager to euthanize them. In a culture that idolizes newness, the wisdom of the elders is merely dusty old news. How wrong and misguided is that assumption!

As a convert who first encountered a Mass (OF) back in the early 1980s in Los Angeles, I was perplexed by the myriad of responses and movements: stand, sit, stand, sit,... stand, kneel, sit, stand..., etc. Encountering the TLM can be similarly perplexing for a Catholic new to the experience. Yet, there is something very familiar in the TLM. Obviously, there is something familiar because the Ordinary Form has emerged from the Extraordinary Form. The old is very much contained in the new and the new in the old. Pope Benedict XVI saw that.

Treasure Hunter?

The EF will unveil the hidden treasures in the Ordinary Form Mass that most people attend on any given Sunday.

What are some of those treasures?
  • Reverent gestures that elevate the mind and senses.
  • The music "of" the Mass (versus something that purports to be music that is tacked on carelessly).
  • Reverent care of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Reverent Holy Communion: reception of the Body of Christ on the tongue while kneeling in the Presence of God.
  • The freedom to choose the better part. I.e., the freedom to pray and to simply be.
  • Silence that fosters listening to God.
  • Beautiful prayers that shape the imagination in sublime ways.

The word hidden was used above. Perhaps a better word is forgotten, or marginalized. Much that is beautiful and necessary in the Ordinary Form has been unlawfully put aside.

The Ordinary Form can be so very beautiful and reverent if people understand they are entering into Christ's Sacrifice and then act accordingly. In a TLM liturgy, there is little doubt that one is entering into a sacred event. People, there, act accordingly.

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