Monday, May 21, 2007

The first time I went to a Tridentine Mass

There was a time in my life after high school when I drifted away from the Church. My college years weren't holy by any means. After Rocky and I married I began to recover my senses. One day I decided to go to a Tridentine Mass. I'd been doing a lot of reading about the Faith and the Mass described by the pre-Vatican II books I found talked about a Mass that seemed very different from the guitar and joke telling priest Mases that I was used to.

I checked the diocesan paper and saw that St. Mary, Mother of God had a 9:30 Tridentine Latin Mass. I took a bus and a commuter train to get there. St. Mary's is a very old church in the Chinatown section of Washington, DC. Chinatown is hot right now but back in the 90s it was not a good part of town (The problem was not the Chinese, it was young black men, I'm sorry to say)and I walked very fast to and from the church.

St. Mary's somehow survived wreckovation and retains its altar rail and magnificent altar. Although it badly needs restoration it's still beautiful in the way that your elderly mother is beautiful. I was overwhelmed by that Mass and there was something else.... I wept tears of wonder, and tears of joy.

When I was a kid someone told me that the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine were exactly the same except that the NO is in English. That was obviously not true. If the Mass were a car, the Tridentine would be a Maybach and the NO would be a Toyata. They're both cars but they aint the same. Before anyone gets huffy let me point out that I've seen Toyotas that were quite nice and I've seen dull, ugly Toyotas that were nothing more than a means of transport.


Janice said...

Hi Dymphna,

I think the TLM will be beneficial in several respect. First, it will purify the NO, if only by comparison. Second, it will reassert Catholic identity. That will halt some of the quasi-Protestant "evangelical" outreach programmes in which some ostensible Catholic converts are engaged. I think the TLM will also cause Catholics (and others) to reflect on their participation in the ongoing heavenly liturgy and thus it will no longer be "pro me" or all about me.

Anonymous said...

The Tridentine Mass is particularly beautiful isn't it?