I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Colossians 1:24
The recent news of the Vatican Dicastery suppressing Latin Mass is disheartening. As you all know I don’t like to get into Liturgy wars, but I do see the Latin Mass as a better Mass. There are just so many reasons why. I say this as a person who doesn’t attend regular Latin Mass. I had access to it for awhile, but no longer do without much travel.
I have stated in the past we can treat the Eucharist like Mary and Joseph treated the infant Jesus, or we can treat the Eucharist like Christ was treated on the Cross. The abuses I have seen take place in the Novus Ordo Mass in a lot of places seems to fall into the latter category. This is not to say that in the past, there was never abuse, but by in large the formula protected it from abuse.
I have stated before that the Mass is the Center of the World, and the way the Mass goes, so too the world will go. It is all connected. We as individual lay people can be reverent and our hearts can participate with love in any Mass. The attachment to God alone will ensure our perseverance in suffering, so we need not be afraid of the trajectory we are on. But the consequences we are seeing in the world around us, they are all connected to the Mass.
Why do I say this? Well because the Mass is where heaven and earth meet. It is where God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. When the Mass becomes less about God and more about us, we actually can reject heaven. God should come first, and with that comes peace and love of our fellow man. When we miss that point everything gets disordered. Latin was about universal unity, it put the Priest in a position of humility of the offering, a unity of sacrifice was made, not a forced manmade unity that is so active at times you can’t even really pray. That is not to put all new Mass down. I have also stated the Latin Mass won’t save us, God will. But I can observe, as many already have that fifty plus years of the new Mass and attendance at Mass is at an all time low and the belief in the Eucharist as the true presence is too.
As we went with the vernacular language in Mass, the language in the world got worse. When was the last time you went out and didn’t hear the “F” word a million times from the people around you? Or heard people using the Lord’s name to damn one another instead of bless one another? Now language is twisted so bad that we can’t even get pronouns straight. Pretty soon, if not already, we find ourselves speaking with people who speak our language but we can’t understand one another at all. And the “unity” we seem to promote is actually harsh judgment against those who have a different view, especially if that view loves Latin Mass. They are often accused of the very thing that is actually happening to them.
For those of you who feel disheartened, I have a story for you.
I have been caring for my mom with dementia now in my home for over 18 months. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is also beautiful.
Mom can’t walk because of two strokes and a previous broken hip. She partakes in what is called confabulation. Confabulation is a statement or action that is incongruent with the patients history. To most of us it feels like a lie, untruths that the dementia patient speaks. Mom has told me she is a baker, and has told others that I am a cruise director. She often tells people I am her sister. If you try to correct her you face the agitated wrath she flings at you, accusing you of being a liar. If you weren’t aware of the disease inside of her, you would think you were being gas lit. Mom often makes no sense. She went from being a power house of a woman who could conquer the world, and did so in her career and as a mom, to a weak, frail, disease ridden woman who is trying desperately to maintain her dignity. It is my job to help her maintain her dignity and love her despite all her weaknesses and despite the disease that has taken over. Mom’s dignity does not depend on her strength because it was given freely to her as a child of God. It can never be removed from her because it is God’s gift to her and God is holy. I must love her and stay true to her, even when it seems impossibly hard. I must know that suffering for love is God’s grace pouring out for redemption.
My mom reminds me of the church. As the church has had her legs, particularly tradition, taken out from under her, as the church has members who babel incoherent non-doctrinal statements, that constantly need clarification and correction, as the church confabulates and is incongruent with her history, and spits wrath at those who point it out; the church, she is still holy because she belongs to God and God is holy. Though the smoke of Satan may have entered and diseased the body, the body belongs to God, and we must trust completely that He has a better plan. He is allowing the purification, the crucifixion, of sin. This always brings Resurrection.
So my friends, now is not the time to despair. It is the time to love more and love harder. You be holy. We cannot control the trajectory of things, but we can allow God to work inside us for the sake of his body, the church. Everything could get taken away, including the Eucharist, which is why we need to be a Eucharistic people; a people of thanksgiving who trust God and his promises, even when we stand at a cross. He doesn’t just want to forgive us, he wants to glorify us, trust in that.