The Latin Mass: It Is Okay to Be
Tonight I went to the first Latin Mass I've attended at St Mary Magdalen's Church. It is the first Mass at which I have not uttered a word...and that is why it is beautiful. It is the first Mass at which I have not responded to what the Priest is saying...and that is why it is beautiful. I came away thinking, yes, that is how it was always meant to be. It is almost as if everyone suddenly knows his place.
The Priest is allowed to be the Priest, mediating and interceding on the behalf of his congregation, with vocal and inaudible prayer and entreaty. His assistant, the altar server assists in the responses during the liturgy.
The Laity are allowed to be the Laity, allowed to be still in the Presence of God, to acknowledge our unworthiness before the Lord and to be able to actually pray without distraction, without having to make responses, even 'Amen', without having to vocalise the pattern of the Mass and to simply be before God. The vocalised responses to the Mass have been taken away, the responsibility to speak has been removed and in comparison to the New Rite, are suddenly left feeling, 'But isn't there something we have to do? Isn't there something we have to say? What am I meant to do?' Yet, now we can be! We don't have to do anything! Now we can pray in the silence of our hearts and seek Him!
And, of course, most importantly, Amighty God is allowed to be Almighty God, without being assailed by the noise of the Laity, without men and women profaning Him by receiving the Blessed Host in the hand, without men and women profaning or demeaning Him by not kneeling to receive, without them uttering the sacred words of the Santcus carelessly or without thought or devotion, knowing that in the Priest He has someone who is worthy by virtue of his Office, to mediate for His people.
Yes, suddenly in the Latin Mass, everybody knows their place, harmony is restored and nobody is seeking to usurp another's role. The Priest as Alter Christo takes upon himself the mediatory role between man and God and is allowed to be the Priest and we the Laity are allowed to be, allowed to pray in the silent majesty of Presence of God.