True Confessions: How the Latin Mass Deepened My Faith

True Confessions: How the Latin Mass Deepened My Faith

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Why would millions of people journey for hours to a Mass? Why would they stoutly defend it against charges of being ‘strange' or ‘pharisaical' or even ‘schismatic'? Why does it attract such devotion from people of every race, color, age, nationality and language? In this fourth in a series of  five weekly articles, our Regina Roundtable members share their own deeply personal experience, to explain why the Latin Mass is so compelling and deepens their faith.

Neal in West Virginia: The TLM has absolutely deepened my faith.  The presence of God at Mass is unmistakable, and the extreme reverence only reinforces that.  In addition, my 1962 Missal has such wonderful devotions that you would never find in a modern missal.  Practicing traditionally has made me feel God's presence in my life in a way not even remotely felt before.

The TLM has absolutely deepened my faith.  The presence of God at Mass is unmistakable, and the extreme reverence only reinforces that.

Linda in Wisconsin:  Yes. I read the Missal. Oh, my.  The beauty of the prayers there.  This liturgy is a saint-maker. Our ancestors, going all the way down to the beginning, prayed these very words. It calms me down. When I get stressed at how much is changing for the worse in our times, the TLM and its ancient beauty calms me, comforts me and by its very survival assures me that what is sacred and important never disappears. And never ever will. 

Oh, my.  The beauty of the prayers there.  This liturgy is a saint-maker. Our ancestors, going all the way down to the beginning, prayed these very words.

Robert in Chicago:   Well, my faith has become “richer.”  I’ve been made aware of so many devotions and sacramentals that we can do each day that deepen my faith and keep me “on the straight and narrow.”  I’m more aware that God loves us and has created us to live eternally with Him.  His Mother is always there to help us and the Rosary is the most powerful prayer (and weapon) we have.  All of this is new to me. 

But mostly…I’ve rediscovered the Sacrament of Confession.  What an amazing gift the Church has in this Sacrament.  St. John’s has priests hearing Confessions whenever the church is open, even during Mass.  The lines are long, and I find myself going to Confession almost every week.  I need to hear that God loves me and is ready to forgive me, no matter how often I fall-down.  All of the priests are compassionate and not at all condemning or judgmental, as liberals would have you believe.  It has become a form of spiritual therapy for me.  When I was growing-up, we rarely heard about the need for Confession.  We did not make a first Confession before our First Communion.  I didn’t go to my first Confession until several years after my First Communion.  And remember in the 70s, there was “group absolution,” “face-to-face ‘reconciliation,’” etc. 

I’ve rediscovered the Sacrament of Confession.  What an amazing gift the Church has in this Sacrament.  St. John’s has priests hearing Confessions whenever the church is open, even during Mass.  The lines are long, and I find myself going to Confession almost every week.

Steve in Washington: There is a timeless depth to the TLM and associated prayers and practices.  There is a profound comfort to praying the prayers of the Saints — and of my ancestors long ago — without the attempts to be “relevant” to the modern age, which is transient and falling and needing direct warnings. 

The timelessness is a reminder that there have been terrible times in the past as well…and we just need to pick up our crosses as they did. There is an aspect that is disquieting, though.  The Church used to speak with such clarity, confidence, and directness:  once you start immersing yourself in tradition, it can be painful to see the difference.

There is a profound comfort to praying the prayers of the Saints — and of my ancestors long ago — without the attempts to be “relevant” to the modern age, which is transient and falling.

Neil in Washington: Yes, I would say that the TLM has deepened my faith. Because this form of the Mass is still new to me, I pay closer attention to what is happening on the altar and what is being said as part of the liturgy than I otherwise might. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is never ho-hum for me. I want to know what’s happening and I try to follow along in my missal.

The idea of beauty is central to the Traditional Latin Mass. The TLM strives to make everything beautiful: beautiful church architecture, beautiful vestments, beautiful church furnishings, beautiful music, and beautiful ritual—because it takes seriously the idea that Jesus Christ himself, the one in whom and for whom all things, including beauty, were created—is among us at every Mass offering us his Most Holy Body and Blood. If God himself, the creator and author of beauty, is among us, offering us Himself, the most beautiful thing there is, then it stands to reason that we should respond by offering the most beautiful things we have.

If God himself, the creator and author of beauty, is among us, offering us Himself, the most beautiful thing there is, then it stands to reason that we should respond by offering the most beautiful things we have.

Rosa in New Jersey: The TLM has led me deeply into the meaning in the Mass. In the TLM, as in, say, Dante, every single word has deep significance. In the depths of the quiet of this beautiful Mass, the church seems to fill with angels, and I feel the prayerfulness of the entire congregation as a force that surrounds us all.

God led me back, with my intellect and my heart together. As a young girl, I'd lived in France, and had felt powerfully drawn to the adoration chapels in the beautiful churches I so often visited. It was as if I always had known I'd one day become Catholic. The TLM, I thought, and still think, joins me to all of Christian history. These words I pray today were on the lips of a mighty army of faithful Catholics, spanning century upon century and I am one with them in prayer. I also found understanding by reading the works of many fathers and doctors of the church, and profound guidance in the works of John Henry Cardinal Newman.

God led me back, with my intellect and my heart together. As a young girl, I'd lived in France, and had felt powerfully drawn to the adoration chapels in the beautiful churches I so often visited.

Larenne in New Jersey:  The Latin Mass saved us. My husband and I went through RCIA together. He received his sacraments Easter Vigil 2006 and we were married on May 20th the same year.  I learned more about Catholicism in one month with Fr. Pasley than I did my entire time in CCD. I couldn't believe how much I was ignorant of. It's a crime and a crisis of my generation.

I learned more about Catholicism in one month with Fr. Pasley than I did my entire time in CCD. I couldn't believe how much I was ignorant of. It's a crime and a crisis of my generation.

Rebecca in Montreal: I rediscovered a depth and beauty that I had lost after moving to Canada and away from the Eastern Catholic liturgies that I loved so much. The Novus Ordo felt lacking, and it was a major turn downhill after having grown up in the wonderful Maronite and Melkite rites with the beautiful vestments, the smell of incense, and the mystical chanting.

I rediscovered all that in the TLM, and  saw that the Roman Rite could equal the Eastern ones in magnificence. I was also happy to have a break from all the outrageous abuses I found in the common Novus Ordo Masses. I had never received Communion in the hand till I attended Mass in France, and it was something unheard of in my country.

I rediscovered a depth and beauty that I had lost after moving to Canada and away from the Eastern Catholic liturgies that I loved so much.

David in Virginia: In recent years, not only do I attend the Traditional Mass almost exclusively, but I am a “master of ceremonies” for a Sunday High Mass here in northern Virginia.  I direct the other servers, and attend to the priest.

The whole of Christendom was built in Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance periods, around the Faith, the Mass as I knew it as a child, the customs and rhythms of the liturgical year. It is the Mass that has been the center, not only of my Faith, but of my heritage. It is how I worship, it is who I am. No one can ever take it away.

The whole of Christendom was built in Europe during the Medieval and Renaissance periods, around the Faith, the Mass as I knew it as a child, the customs and rhythms of the liturgical year. It is the Mass that has been the center, not only of my Faith, but of my heritage. It is how I worship, it is who I am. No one can ever take it away.

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