In a world in which Catholic faithful suffer from a constant bombardment of intrusive noise, the traditional Mass counters with silence and stillness; with quietude.
At a time when prayer is desperately needed, particularly the recovery of mental prayer, the traditional Mass facilitates, helping to foster and form an interior life. As renowned exorcist Father Chad Ripperger once explained:
The ancient ritual…actually fosters a prayer life. The silence during the Mass actually teaches people that they must pray. Either one will get lost in distraction during the ancient ritual or one will pray. The silence and encouragement to pray during the Mass teach people to pray on their own. While, strictly speaking, they are not praying on their own insofar as they should be joining their prayers and sacrifices to the Sacrifice and prayer of the priest, these actions are done interiorly and mentally and so naturally dispose them toward that form of prayer…
At a time when the world suffers from disobedience and self-destructive pride, the traditional Mass teaches us humility.
Through the need to conform ourselves to the ritual, instead of fabricating a liturgy which caters to our preferences, we are humbled and forged.
In response to our sinful desire to stand before God, to hold God in our hand (as if we could contain Him), the ancient Rite requires a posture of humility. As Cardinal Robert Sarah observed:
So too kneeling at the consecration…is essential. In the West this is an act of bodily adoration that humbles us before our Lord and God. It is itself an act of prayer. Where kneeling and genuflection have disappeared from the liturgy, they need to be restored, in particular for our reception of our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion.
At a time when many have rediscovered the beauty of sacred music, of Gregorian chant, we need the traditional Mass.
Chant belongs to the Roman Rite. It holds “first place” among liturgical music according to Vatican 2. First and foremost, it has a home within the traditional Rite for which it was created. This music, objectively beautiful and ever timeless, exists for the ancient Mass.
2017 marked the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which sought to increase availability to the traditional Mass, now termed the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. As Benedict explained:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.
Ten years later, isn’t time for more bishops to encourage their priests and seminarians to learn to offer this Mass?
Isn’t time for more of the faithful who say they long for the restoration of reverence to seek out that which is the summit of beauty and the foundation of western civilization?
We need a liturgy where the music is always sacred and the silence is always intentional.
We need a liturgy where the priest always wears the maniple and where his index fingers and thumbs are kept pressed together following consecration.
We need a liturgy where the priest makes the sign of the cross 52 times and genuflects 16 times.
We need a liturgy where offering the Holy Sacrifice ad orientem isn’t a source of controversy and contention.
And we need a liturgy where actual participation is authentically fostered, both exteriorly and interiorly.
Let us hope more of the faithful make the Traditional Mass their New Year’s resolution. Seek it out if you are a layperson. Learn to offer it if you are a priest. Promote and support greater availability if you are a bishop.
Photo credit: Philip Budidharma