In 2010 I converted to the Catholic Church from a Protestant background. I knew nothing of liturgy. As a new Catholic it took time for me to learn the liturgical movements, when to sit, stand, kneel, and genuflect, and also learn the responses. But after a while Mass may feel mechanical, like we’re just going through the motions. We forget the Mass is a Eucharistic journey.
Take a look at how the Mass unfolds. At the beginning of Mass you invoke God’s presence (Sign of the Cross), you tell God you’re sorry (Confiteor), you ask God for mercy (Kyrie), you praise and give glory to God (Gloria), you allow God to speak to you (Liturgy of the Word), which leads to the climax of Mass, Jesus feeding you and your soul with His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.
You see, the Mass is a Eucharistic journey. Is it possible to go even deeper in this journey? I believe so, because it changed my life.
I was invited to attend a Traditional Latin Mass. When the Mass started I followed along in the booklet as best I could, but quickly found myself gazing up at what was happening at the altar. I put my booklet down and watched. It was beautiful and reverent.
When we got to the Liturgy of the Eucharist (also known as the Mass of the Faithful) it was silent. You could sense something was about to happen. Then the Consecration took place. At the moment the Host and Chalice were elevated, I knew without a doubt Jesus was really present. I got a yearning in my heart for Jesus that I never had before.
I was absolutely on fire for Jesus after the Traditional Latin Mass was complete. What was so different about the Latin Mass compared to going to Mass in the Ordinary form? Beauty and reverence. The Traditional Latin Mass reveals clearly the eminence of God and is celebrated reverently.
Sometimes Mass can feel “busy,” but at the Latin Mass there is silence. It can be an interior (contemplative) experience. Rather than Mass being something you do, it’s something you experience. The Mass isn’t about me and what I get out of it, but the focus is on Jesus. That is what naturally draws a person to the Latin Mass.
The Traditional Latin Mass is in Latin which means it will take some time to learn the responses. For me it took no time at all with a little bit of practice. Learning more about the Latin Mass has enhanced my Eucharistic experience and journey. Following along in the booklet was a snap after only a few weeks of attendance.
I invite you to attend a Traditional Latin Mass sometime. For the first couple weeks instead of trying to follow along in the booklet, do as I did and just watch. Watch the beauty unfold. Then after a few weeks use the booklet. To help practice your Latin responses there are websites, such as Sancta Missa, that can help. Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you or to answer questions you have about the Latin Mass.
Even though we are all at different stages in our personal spiritual lives, we are all on the same journey, a Eucharistic journey, where Jesus feeds us with His Body and Blood. To strengthen us, to heal us, and to sanctify us. The Ordinary form of the Mass can provide beauty, but if you want to go deeper into the Eucharistic journey then the Traditional Latin Mass may be exactly what you need.
After your first Latin Mass experience you may find yourself repeating the words of St. Thomas just as I did, “My Lord and my God!”
by John Connor