Author Topic: Tridentine Mass Testimonials: "I wept for the beauty my heart had forgotten".  (Read 504 times)

Offline Xavier

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Please share testimonies of souls who re-discovered the Treasures of Tradition in this thread. I recall reading a mainstream Priest who began re-discovering a joy he had never known for decades when he began again to offer the Holy Traditional Mass. Below are some confessions from the laity who discover or re-discover the beauty, devotion and excellence of the Tridentine Mass. From Regina Mag:



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." https://reginamag.com/true-confessions-latin-mass-deepened-faith/
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
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Offline Xavier

  • Eternal Father, through Mary's Immaculate Heart, We Offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for our sins and those of the Whole World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
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  • Slave of the Risen Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice.
    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
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Don’t forget to check out the lovely essay at the end of the post from the Latin MassSociety: https://catholicfamilyvignettes.wordpress.com/traditional-latin-mass/

Why We Attend The Traditional Latin Mass

by Kimberly Wasson


I’m a convert. Born and raised protestant, baptized in a Pentecostal Holiness Church (yep, that’s right folks…they speak in “tongues”, though I never did!). I spent the majority of my young life “church shopping”: Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, Methodist…you name it, I tried it. I memorized scripture, attended weekday fellowship meetings and competed with other little kids to see who could bring the most visitors to church. It was fun. The music was upbeat, everyone was “saved” and Sunday attendance was never mandatory.

The first time I ever visited a Catholic Church was with my Baptist grandmother. She had always loved the Church, but had never converted due to her staunchly Baptist parents and the fear of upsetting them. So she would pay friendly visits to Our Lord in the tabernacle and light candles. She needed no catechesis. She knew Who was there. From the very beginning I was mesmerized by the beauty, the mystery that surrounded me in that Church. Altar rails, pews with kneelers, hauntingly beautiful statuary and brutally rendered crucifixes provided a backdrop that filled the holes that existed in my “bible-believing” background. By the age of ten, I knew…knew that once saved always saved simply wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. The bible certainly didn’t confirm it, and I had memorized all the pertinent verses to help others on the road to salvation. The bible spoke of a Church that was the pillar and foundation of truth.  Pillar and foundation of truth…goodness the bible didn’t even make that claim for itself! What Church could this be? I’d been to so many…

It would be many more years, before I would receive that answer. I began reading, reading, reading. And pestering a Catholic friend. I peppered her with questions. In frustration, this same friend finally insisted that I attend an inquirer’s session at a local Catholic Church. I was 25 years old. The meeting was quite informal. I basically assaulted the priest with every question I could dream up…I’m quite sure that I monopolized that particular session. Satisfied with the answers I’d received, I quickly signed up for RCIA.

Now…here’s where the story gets interesting. The first time I entered my local Catholic Church, I was horrified! What happened? Where were the pews? The kneelers? The statues? The tabernacle…oh, there it is…in the corner…wait! Where’s the Crucifix? Why is there a large banner of a butterfly over the altar? This lovely Church had been wrecked…I saw the photos of the old Church in the vestibule. I imagine the purpose of that picture was to show everyone how the Church had been “modernized”, but what I saw was a Church “de-Catholicized”, in fact, it appeared far more protestant than the Methodist church I was attending with my husband and children.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I signed up for RCIA? Why hadn’t I attended Mass a few times to see if I “liked it?” Folks…this wasn’t about “like” or “love”, but about being right. The Catholic Church was the answer for me…the right one. And I needed to be right. Are you following this? I made a “head trip” not a “heart trip” into the Church. My real conversion wouldn’t occur for many years…a story in and of itself.

It took me two years to enter the Church. No annulments or messy things to clean up…I simply couldn’t reconcile a lot of the things I would hear in RCIA with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The DRE (who was a Franciscan nun) told us many things that were irreconcilable with the faith. She basically negated the necessity of Confession, insisted that women would one day be priests and referred to God as Mother/Father.

I quit.

The Hound of Heaven is quite persistent. I had to persevere. After much suffering, many tears and the weekly agony of RCIA, I finally entered the Church. What a relief! I was so thankful that I had finished that I didn’t go back for at least two weeks. Shocking, isn’t it? Where was my fervor? I had received my Lord and my God into my very self. I was a member of His Body, and yet I never wanted to go back to that Church…I wanted to find out what happened to the Church that I had seen as a child, read about in books. I wanted to find the beauty of the faith that had been captured in centuries of art. I knew it existed. Somehow it had been misplaced.

So I searched. I visited other Catholic Churches. Many of them were very orthodox but none were close to home. By this time, my husband, grandmother (yes!!! The same grandma that always wanted to be a Catholic) and my mother had joined the Church. We had begun to attend regularly, and I must admit, that Mass was sometimes a near occasion of sin for me. I was so angry at the liturgical abuses. So angry that no one seemed to care. Frustrated and feeling very much alone. My husband, on the other hand, was the model Catholic…he always felt at home, no matter what kind of “hospitality” he received…how much I could learn from him! Though he too lamented what our weekly Mass had become, he remained encouraging to me and the children. His faith has always been one of the heart, a heart full of generosity and goodwill.

A few years later, I experienced a “Saul on the road to Damascus” kind of conversion. Sounds tantalizing and I promise to share it, but not now. It’s a long and mystical journey, better suited for another time…

My heart was on fire. Consumed with a burning love for my God, my Faith, my Church, I struggled to make the best of what was before me. For ten years we lived in a desert, one of constant battles to protect the innocence of our children when immoral materials were introduced in CCD, battles to obtain the sacrament of Penance before First Holy Communion, as dictated by the Catechism. My husband and I taught CCD, trying desperately to correct the errors that were being promoted in the classroom. We began homeschooling. We watched a succession of priests, with no essential change. None would stand up to the DRE. (*this DRE has since been reassigned to another country, and an orthodox Bishop is slowly but surely trying to turn the tide of modernism*)

We prayed for a miracle. And it happened.

In the midst of this desert, two friends arrived. They were our solace, our comfort and the “manna” that we desperately needed. And then they moved. My dear Sandra would write, telling me of the incredible new parish they had found, the Mass was in Latin, the priest was an angel…in other words, they had been lead out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

At least that’s how it seemed to me. I was still in Egypt, wandering, looking for solace, reminding myself that my Lord is just as present at a badly handled Mass, as He is in the most orthodox ceremony.

But it was hard.

Back to the miracle! These wonderful friends invited us to check out their parish, with the offer of a rent-free dwelling if we were willing to chance a move. In other words, a whole new life. New home, new job, new parish. It was enticing, to say the least, but quite frightening for a family that owned a home and had lived in a community for more than 17 years. We scheduled a weekend off and paid our friends a visit. We loved the community, but were anxious for a visit to the Church, we decided that if God had something to tell us, we would best hear His Voice there.

I remember donning my veil for the first time. I’ve worn one ever since. There was something so beautiful, so humbling about approaching the doors of the Church, unfolding the mantilla, carefully situating it, even feeling a bit self-conscious. Those feelings soon passed as I entered Holy Family Catholic Church. Breathtakingly beautiful…the heady scent of incense filled the air. We were a bit late and had to sit in the back of the Church. No missal, no expectations…just the extraordinary beauty, the exquisitely lovely words that transcend time and space, the “smells and bells” as some would call them.

I wept. I needed no missal. I knew these words. I had heard them in my heart. This was the song, the beautiful love song that time had woven. “Organic development” is so unromantic, but that was exactly what this Mass was. Something natural, something that had grown, developed and yet still maintained the roots of its origin. There were no words necessary. Roger and I shared a single glance and we both knew, we had heard that Voice.

We moved. Stepping out in absolute trust and faith, believing firmly that this was what we were called to. There were ups and downs, but the blessings and graces were and continue to be, immeasurable. The faith life of this family has changed so completely. We long to go to Church, we hunger for it! Yes…even the children. When we first moved, we lived across the street from an amazingly beautiful Catholic Church. There were the inevitable days (bad weather, car troubles) that would require our attendance at this local church. The children would weep. Weep. They could sleep in two hours, didn’t have to travel a half hour into Columbus and didn’t have to sit for an hour and a half. They didn’t care. They wanted their Church. They weren’t looking for friends and donuts. We had all stumbled upon a beautiful mystery, a story of such historical depth…we’re all still waiting for the surprise ending!

The fervor remains. All four boys now serve on the altar, begging us to leave as early as possible every Sunday morning. They sprint up the stairs of the sacristy, young knights ready to don their vestments to serve the King. Every weekend, we watch the sanctuary fill with young men, seminarians and visiting priests. Twelve vocations in the past ten years from this small inner city parish…that is the fruit of this beautiful Mass. It is our prayer that our own family may be graced with a vocation or two. What an honor it would be to give back to God these children He has so generously placed in our care.


The Traditional Latin Mass is alive and well…large families, lots of babies and little ones, as Father says: “It’s my youngest and best attended Mass…I believe the average age is somewhere around 4.”

We still occasionally attend the Ordinary Form. It’s important that our children recognize the validity of this Mass as well as the rubrics. But it’s always different, everywhere we go. Ultimately, we recognize that the only continuity we will experience will be that which exists in the Traditional Latin Mass…there is no room improvement. None is needed.

If you have a chance to attend a Latin Mass, give it a try. It is lovely to remember what was, what is and what will always be…

The Beauty and Spirituality
of the Traditional Latin Mass

by David Joyce


(The Holy Mass as referred to in this essay is the traditional Latin Mass
of the ancient Roman rite, as celebrated until 1965 in the Latin Church)
It is the Mass that Cardinal Newman, the leader of the Oxford movement into the Church, said that he could attend forever, and not be tired. Father Faber, priest of the Brompton Oratory in the last century, described the Mass as the “most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, and he continued:

“It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with the celestial charming, so that our very senses seemed to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste, and touch beyond what earth can give”

Father Adrian Fortescue, a great English liturgical historian, has said that the Mass of the Roman rite is the most venerable rite in Christendom.

Pious Popes, too, have often wondered at the majesty of the Mass. Pope Clement VII said in 1604:

“Since the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist by means of which Christ Our Lord has made us partakers of His sacred Body, and ordained to stay with us unto the consummation of the world, is the greatest of all the Sacraments, and it is accomplished in the Holy Mass and offered to God the Father for the sins of the people, it is highly fitting that we who are in one body which is the Church, and who share of the one Body of Christ, would use in this ineffable and awe- inspiring Sacrifice the same manner of celebration and the same ceremonial observance and rite”

and Pope Urban VII in 1634 said:

“If there is anything divine among man’s possessions which might excite the envy of the citizens of heaven (could they ever be swayed by such a passion), this is undoubtedly the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by means of which men, having before their eyes, and taking into their hands the very Creator of heaven and earth, experience, while still on earth, a certain anticipation of heaven.

How keenly, then, must mortals strive to preserve and protect this inestimable privilege with all due worship and reverence, and be ever on their guard lest their negligence offend the angels who vie with them in eager adoration!”

The Mass! What a treasure! Christ’s very own sacrifice on the cross left for us wrapped in an act seeping with beauty and divine celebration. Below I describe a few of its important qualities that set it apart in this day and age, that truly make it “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven”.

1. The Silence of the Canon

The entire Canon of the Mass is devoid of any vocal sounds, other than one phrase “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” where the priest strikes his breast, emphasising his own sinfulness and unworthiness of celebrating such an unspeakably divine action. The only other sound is when the bell is rung, initially at the “Hanc igitur” as a warning bell to inform the faithful of the impending consecration, and then three times at each consecration: when the priest genuflects before the divine oblation, when he raises the divine victim in an elevation of worship and adoration, and finally when he genuflects again. Otherwise, complete silence.

Why this silence, when the canon is the most important part of the Mass? Simply because of that fact. The canon of the Mass joins the earthy sphere to the heavenly sphere. Christ’s sacrifice was performed once and for all; it can never be repeated as it was the eternal and perfect sacrifice to end all sacrifices. However, since the victim and the priest was God, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the effects are infinite: the entire human race was redeemed wherever they lived, regardless of time or space. But an important fact is that the act that Christ performed was placed within His creation, and at a particular point in time. Therefore, for the sacrifice of the cross to become effective universally over all time, it needed to be perpetuated through the ages by a priesthood acting in the person of our Lord and presenting His sacrifice anew to a new generation. This is why Christ built His Church: to bring forth the graces of the incarnation, to prolong it and “make present” its effects to all people. The sacrifice of the cross, and the consecration in the Mass, are timeless entities in a temporal world.

The silence, therefore, enables us to transcend our present existence and become present at the foot of the cross itself. Our senses, so active in the outside world, are suppressed so that our soul can touch the divine presence of God on the altar, so that we may be lifted up with the oblation to the altar of God Himself in heaven, surrounded by all the Hosts and angels in constant prayer and adoration. We, in effect, dip our toes into the pool of eternity, no longer limited by our earthly existence in time and space, but instead become one with our Lord in offering ourselves to God the Father in the one perfect act of self-giving, love and adoration.

Our senses are not totally silenced though. Through our eyes, we see the Holy Victim raises up to the Father in the form of bread and wine; closing our eyes we see the cross above us and the angelic party beyond. In our ears, we hear the ringing of bells, confirming what we see and what we feel in our hearts. In our nostrils, we smell the sweet odour of incense, floating up to heaven accompanying the Victim to the altar of God. It is truly an entire experience of Body and Soul where the carpet of life is swept from underneath us revealing the eternal reality of the cross and the truth of God’s love for each and everyone of us.

Using vocal words in the canon would defy this divine reality, it would seemingly bring the events down to a level of speech and thought, rather than action and sacrifice. We must feel with our heart and soul the event taking place, not hear with our ears the words which enact the event. Only silence can penetrate this mystery, with our spirit lifting us above that temporal actions of the priest into the divine and eternal reality of the High Priest: our Lord on the Cross.

2. The Orientation of the Priest

Traditionally, the priest has always faced east, standing before the altar leading the people in worship and sacrifice with Christ our Lord to our Father in heaven. The east is where the sun rises, a symbol of the rising of the Son of God, His glorious resurrection and the direction of His eventual second coming. Standing before the altar, the symbol of the offering of the sacrifice is clear to all, elevated slightly above the nave and the rest of the sanctuary, lifting the sacrifice heavenward in an act of worship and atonement.

Please note that I do not use the terminology “facing the altar” or “facing the people”, because this inevitably confuses why the priest is standing before the altar and not behind it. The people who are there are following the priest along the path to eternal life. Holy Mass is not merely a meeting or an act of praise with the presider guiding the people: it is an act of sacrificial worship and a step to eternal life. We join the priest, who acts in “persona Christi”, in offering the sacrifice, Christ Himself, to God the Father. The entire proceedings are a spiritual affair: we leave our worldly worries behind at the doorway and enter a place of dimmed lights, hushed tones and reverence towards the divine presence within. The priest leads the people in prayer and worship, we follow as his obedient flock, as a shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures and lush grass. It allows for intense prayer: the priest concentrates on the offering of the sacrifice, the people concentrate on following him and lifting their hearts up to the Father with their Lord on the cross. The interaction between priest and the faithful is minimised so that the interaction between the soul of each person and God is emphasised through the sacred liturgy.

3. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar

The job of a priest is awesome indeed. Offering any sacrifice to God is a heavy responsibility. When the offering is also God, with God acting through your ordained ministry, the responsibility is beyond human comprehension. Suppose that when walking you turned a corner and met a priest talking to an angel, who would you greet first? The angel would be constantly in the presence of God, sinless and perfect in his praise and worship of God. However, you should greet the priest before the angel, due to the dignity of his vocation: in his capacity, he acts in “persona Christi” bringing forth the graces of God’s sacraments, whilst an angel merely carries messages from God, he does not act in His place.

Due to this immense responsibility, in the traditional Latin Mass the priest approaches the altar with extreme care and awareness of his own unworthiness. Once the altar pieces are in place, he positions himself at the level of the surrounding sanctuary (normally two or three steps down from the altar itself) and starts the prayers at the foot of the altar. These include psalm 42, which pleads for God’s grace, preparing the priest for his actions on the altar. He then, without moving forwards, bows down low and prays the Confiteor confessing to God – thrice – that through his own fault he has sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed. The server pleads to God: “May almighty God have mercy on thee and, having forgiven thee thy sins, bring thee to life everlasting” – asking God for his forgiveness for the poor and frail priest! The Confiteor is then repeated, this time for the server and the faithful present, thus signifying a deep divide between priesthood and laity. The priest continues, with the server, in asking for God’s help, and finally – after all this – ascends the steps to the altar with the prayer:

“Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord; that, being made pure in heart we may be worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

These proceedings reflect the theology of the Old Testament priesthood, thus providing us with a continuation and fulfilment of that priesthood in the person of Christ Himself, and the priests He has since ordained.

Once the Mass is over, the priest again bows low and offers up the following prayer:

“May the lowly homage of my service be pleasing to Thee, O most holy Trinity: and do Thou grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered up in the sight of Thy majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and, because of Thy loving-kindness, may avail to atone to Thee for myself and for those for whom I have offered it up. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Thus the priest further emphasises his inadequacy in offering the divine victim, recognising his human frailty before God and all those present. For me, this is a great expression of humility before Almighty God, who in His own infinite humility in the incarnation, instituted the Catholic priesthood in offering up the Eucharist until the end of the age.

4. The Use of Latin

The use of Latin in the Mass is very important. Firstly, it is the language of the Roman Catholic Church. It symbolises a real and true unity across the many countries in which the Mass is celebrated. Wherever you may enter a church in the Latin rite, the whole proceedings will be instantly familiar to you, bringing home an immediate feeling of the universality of the Church. The Catholic Church is truly universal, not fixed to one country or culture, but transcends national boundaries by simply using the same language, symbolising its unity in faith, authority and sources of revelation.

Secondly, Latin is a dead language. It is no longer used as a language in the streets, therefore it has stopped evolving as vernacular languages constantly do. Due to this, the meaning of the words has set in stone, and the liturgy does not need to be revised to avoid offending certain people for whom the words have taken on a different meaning. The dead language has, then, been turned into a “liturgical language” used for the liturgical celebration of the Church. This is not specific to the Latin rite either. The Russian Orthodox Church (although separate from Rome) uses Church Slavonic and the Greek Orthodox Church uses ancient Greek. When the Church was setting up in China, the missionaries there appealed to Rome that the locals truly could not use Latin as a language since it was so foreign to them. Subsequently, the Vatican decreed that the Church there could use ancient Chinese that was no longer in use, thus retaining its liturgical usage.

Thirdly, Latin exhibits a beauty and elegance that seemingly no vernacular tongue can match. Dietrich von Hildebrand, described by Pope Pius XII as a doctor of the 20th century Church, describes this feature as follows:

“Latin is in a unique position here. First, Latin grammar has an uncommon clarity, and to know it, is an incomparable training for our thinking. Secondly, Latin has a great beauty, a spiritual nobility of quite a special sort. This is also true of medieval Latin, which moreover produced works of highest poetical art and religious depth. One need only think of the Dies irae, which is ascribed to Thomas of Celano, of Jacapone da Todi’s Stabat mater, of the magnificent hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, of the sequences of Venantius Fortunatus, and many others. The role which Latin has played in history, especially in the liturgy, and the universality which it possesses, gives the learning of Latin quite a special place” (“The Devastated Vineyard” by Dietrich von Hildebrand, page 90).

Latin is not a barrier, but an invitation into the treasures of the Church, both in liturgy and music. It cannot be seen as an obstacle to potential converts, or to the laity in general, as the personal piety of the laity, and conversions to the Church and also to the priesthood, were flourishing when the Latin Mass was the jewel in the Church’s crown.

5. The Gregorian Chant

As many popular music charts have indicated recently, the Gregorian chant appeals to the soul now as much as ever. Its sublime effect on the proceedings of the Mass is never to be underestimated; it truly seems to be music from heaven. St. Gregory the Great, a Pope in the 6th/7th centuries, organised the Church music and formally defined the Gregorian chant as it has been sung in the Church ever since. St. Pope Pius X further reformed the music of the Church, making a revision “not of the text but of the music. The Vatican Gradual of 1906 contains new, or rather restored, forms of the chants sung by the celebrant, therefore to be printed in the Missal” (according to Adrian Fortescue). Furthermore, the Second Vatican Council stated that the Gregorian chant “should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 116). Mozart himself said that “he would gladly exchange all his music for the fame of having composed the Gregorian Preface”, and Berlioz, who himself wrote a grandiose Requiem, said that “nothing in music could be compared with the effect of the Gregorian Dies Irae” (Latin Mass Society, newsletter no. 111, page 23).

The Gregorian chant connects with the soul, not the mind of the believer (and non- believer alike). Without any knowledge of the traditional Mass, people are somehow drawn towards the divine mysteries of the Church through the treasure of the Gregorian chant. I personally was at a loss in the first Latin Mass I ever attended – a Low Mass – but subsequently I attended a Sung Mass with the Gregorian chant and to term a present day saying: “I was blown away”! It has a mysterious quality that silences the senses and speaks directly to the spirit within, connects with that ever- present desire – however suppressed – that yearns for the “unmoved mover” Who answers all our questions and aspirations. The chant, an expression of most religions, has seemingly found its perfect setting in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – not the concert hall or opera house – but praising the merits of our Saviour before the Holy of Holies.
6. The Reception of Communion

The reception of Communion within the rubrics of the traditional Mass takes place within a sublime and prayerful world, separated from the rushed and physical world in which we live. Again, in the traditional Mass the physical actions of the faith are downplayed so that the spiritual aspect of our existence can revel and take precedence.

Firstly, the priest receives Holy Communion at a distinctly separate time apart from the servers and laity. He recites many beautiful prayers whilst consuming the Host and Chalice, before turning his attention to the servers and faithful present. He does, for instance, have a separate “Lord, I am not worthy…” prayer, said three times with the bell ringing. When he turns to the faithful, holding a piece of the Sacred Host towards them, he says “Behold the lamb of God…”, and the faithful then recite their own “Lord, I am not worthy…”, further emphasising the different roles of priest and laity.

Secondly, when the faithful themselves receive Communion, they receive It kneeling at the altar rail, and directly onto their tongue. This is very significant. Receiving Communion whilst kneeling means that the faithful line up in a row before the sanctuary, and thus have time to prepare themselves for this most sacred of events: coming into spiritual and substantial union with Christ Himself. The communicant kneels down, and whilst he waits for the priest to make his way around, he can settle himself, concentrate on the upcoming Communion with our Lord praying intensely. When it is his turn, the priest says the prayer: “May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul until life everlasting. Amen”. This means, besides the beauty and the significance of the words themselves, that the priest says the word “Amen” so that the communicant need not invoke his voice to receive the King of Kings, allowing a constant stream of prayer and thanksgiving to flow from soul to Saviour. The communicant simply needs to expose his tongue, and his side of the proceedings is complete. Upon receiving Christ, he can continue praying for a little while, and only then does he need to return to his seat, leaving room for the next communicant. Moreover, having the priest come over to the communicant signifies that Christ comes to us, feeds us with His own divine life, whilst we wait kneeling and unmoving like little children totally dependent on His love, mercy and compassion. This is the message of the Gospel: to become like little children, submitting our wills to His and depending totally on Him for everything. We cannot even feed ourselves without Christ’s help, and the action of Communion in the traditional manner demonstrates this in a very vivid manner.

Finally, receiving Communion directly on the tongue further increases the spiritual tranquillity of the whole act. The priest, as above, performs the entire action in dealing with the sacred Host Itself. The danger of leaving particles of the Host on one’s own hands is then avoided, as well as more worrying sacrileges such as the Host being taken away, uneaten, dropped on the floor, or even taken to Satanic gatherings. If a particle is left on the communicant’s hand, however small and invisible to the eye, It is still our Lord entire, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. He remains fully present in the species of the Host until the Host looses the accidents of bread. Moreover, if we are allowed to directly touch the Blessed Sacrament, we may become casual or careless in our Lord’s presence, thus giving rise to irreverence before the great Sacrament Itself. Only allowing the priest to touch the Host also increases our respect and reverence, not only of the Blessed Sacrament, but of the priesthood itself and all who take it upon themselves to enter it. The sacred Host is, after all, the very substance of God incarnate: something that demands our extreme reverence and holy fear. To restrict touching It to the priesthood alone can only increase these virtues.

__________

I have covered six main qualities of the traditional Latin Mass above which are certainly not the only ones. The whole ethos of the Mass exhibits a profound belief in the doctrines of the one true Church of Christ, especially in the Holy Sacrifice and the substantial presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The beauty and Catholicism of the offertory prayers confirm the doctrine of the Catholic faith in the upcoming consecration, unambiguously. The rubrics of the Mass are very strict; when we attend a Latin Mass we know what to expect – it depends on the Mass itself, not the personalities that surround it. The repeated genuflections of the priest before the sacred species confirm this most divine presence, as well as his repeated signs of the cross over It, before and after the consecration. Before the consecration these actions serve to bless and set the offering apart, after the consecration to signify the reality of the cross before us and its redemptive quality. The genuflections within the creed and the last gospel emphasise our belief in the profound doctrine of the incarnation, the centre of the Christian faith. The striking of the breast, during the Confiteor and the “Lord I am not worthy…” bring in all aspects of our existence to increase our realisation of own unworthiness and the infinite love and mercy of God.

The traditional Mass is not something heard or listened to. It is a divine experience seeping with the beauty of the faith, that touches the heart and soul of all who participate, giving a boost to the spirituality of those who immerse themselves in its mysteries. The secular world is the battleground; the Mass is the place that charges us up, puts us in touch with our divine mission and motivates us to face the prince of this world with great courage and faith.

I conclude by completing the quote by Cardinal Newman, who composed the following glowing praise for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, speaking by the mouth of his hero in his book “Loss and Gain”:

“I declare, to me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses forever and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words, it is a great ACTION – the greatest action that can be on earth. It is not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before Whom the angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the end and is the interpretation of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on, as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go – the whole is quick; for they are all parts of one integral action. Quickly they pass, for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He passed along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first one and then another. Quickly they pass, because as the lightning which shineth from one part of the heaven unto the other, so is the coming of the Son of man. Quickly they pass; for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord came down in the cloud, calling on the name of the Lord as He passed by: ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth.’ And as Moses on the mountain, so we, too, ‘make haste and bow our heads to the earth, and adore.’ So we, all around, each in his place, looking out for the great Advent, ‘waiting for the moving of the water,’ each in his place, with his own heart, with his own wants, with his own thoughts, with his own intentions, with his own prayers, separate but concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in its consummation; not painfully and hopelessly following a hard form of prayer from beginning to end, but like a concert of musical instruments, each differing but concurring in a sweet harmony, we take our part with God’s priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little children there, and old men, and simple laborers, and students in seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their thanksgiving; there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent sinners; but out of these many minds rises one eucharistic hymn, and the great Action is the measure and the scope of it.”
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:07:06 AM by Xavier »
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Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

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"What Does Authentic Evangelization Look Like? It May Not Be What You Were Thinking

Fr Richard Heilman

https://www.romancatholicman.com/authentic-evangelization-look-like-may-not-thinking/



“If men and women are really made for heroism and glory, made to stand in the presence of the living God, they can never be satisfied with bourgeois, mediocre, feel-good religion. They’ll never be fed by ugly worship and shallow moralizing. But that’s what we too often give them.” -Archbishop Charles Chaput

I’m praying about creating a book on this topic. This is a truncated version of something I have been working on for quite a while. I will try to outline the major themes in a brief, more readable summation.

The Underlying Premise
In a previous article, I wrote:

Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Pew Organization conclude that spiritually devout people are twice as likely to report being “very happy” than the least religious people. Secular analysts seem to be doing back flips trying to explain away the simple reality that there is no other authentic and fulfilling way to live other than a supernatural life; the Divine Life.

I went on to outline the four levels of happiness drawn from Greek and later Christian writers, culminating in the fourth level of happiness: Sublime Beatitudo (Sublime Blessedness). This level is not reserved for the saints alone, but is offered to every child of God. In fact, it is referred to as the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary.

Humans are pulled by their desire for the sublime, something beyond their imagination, beyond their complete understanding. To be sure, they desire love, goodness, truth, beauty, and being as they experience them in the world; but they also desire these in their perfected and unlimited form. St. Augustine describes this quest as fides quaerens intellectus: “faith in search of understanding.” Those of faith recognize this as their desire for God.

In the “Three Ages of the Interior Life,” Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange writes about it this way …

As soon as a man seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.

As I wrote in an earlier article, I’ve come to understand that we have, by and large, removed the very gateway into the Divine Life. Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order:

“Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven” (“Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam,” II 7,7).

As you can see, the gateway is “Fear of the Lord” (or “Awe and Wonder”). If there is an order, and I agree with this saint that there is, then we must break through to the first gift of the Holy Spirit in order to traverse to and through the other gifts. Or, to put it another way, “If we don’t *get this* we won’t *get the rest.*” And, we will languish in a darkened and dreary existence.

So, what is Fear of the Lord? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord …

“… inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God.”

In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God’, the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity.”

Yes, we have gone a long way, over the past 50 years, to remove the very gateway to the Divine Life. Before the destructive post-Vatican II trend of stripping out of all things sacred, Catholicism led the way in preparing the souls of the faithful to receive this first and most necessary gateway Gift of Awe and Wonder through sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music and special attention to the sacred offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

So, we can see that our aim is to invite souls to become more interior and to tend to union with God. As long as they linger in an egocentric existence, they remain darkened in this impoverished and diminished existence. St. Paul wrote:

“The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).

With this in mind, we become aware of the true or authentic nature of evangelization. All efforts must be made to assist the faithful in becoming “more open” to the first gift of the Holy Spirit: “Awe and Wonder;” to help them move from “unspiritual man” to “spiritual man.” If we miss this, we miss everything.

Laying the Groundwork for Authentic Evangelization

Okay, if you accept my premise, then let’s look at what authentic evangelization looks like, and how to lay the groundwork.

There are many great teaching aids out there (DVDs, books, websites, etc.) but, if you accept my premise, we still have the problem of what St. Paul calls, “the unspiritual man.” Much is spoken about the lack of catechesis as being the problem today, but little is spoken about a “lack of hunger for catechesis.” All of these books and DVDs are great for those who are already evangelized, but what about those who are not? What about those who have no hunger for these tools, or maybe even see them as foolish?

After many years of “laying the groundwork,” I find myself evangelizing by inviting people to attend Sunday Mass. A great help to evangelization is the realization that people are sick and tired of the mundane. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not, they have a great longing for the transcendent.

Knowing this, I have been in fast food stores, supermarkets, restaurants, etc., and I find myself leading the conversation to faith. Most of the time, I am speaking with someone who has left their faith years ago. While showing no signs of disappointment and judgment, I start speaking to them about the “heavenly Mass” at my parish. I tell them the Mass is offered “old school.” I use words like “classic” and “retro” (because I know they are sick of the trends and fads of modernity too), and I reassure them they will not be asked to do anything that makes them uncomfortable … they are left to simply “soak it in and pray.”

I can’t begin to tell you just how positive are the responses. They assure me they can’t wait to come, and they do. I believe we have something truly substantial and authentic to offer them. In this “heavenly setting,” their hardened hearts are made soft and supple, like a sponge. They are laid open to receive what God so desperately wants to give them: The Divine Life.

I went on to outline the four levels of happiness drawn from Greek and later Christian writers, culminating in the fourth level of happiness: Sublime Beatitudo (Sublime Blessedness). This level is not reserved for the saints alone, but is offered to every child of God. In fact, it is referred to as the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary.

Humans are pulled by their desire for the sublime, something beyond their imagination, beyond their complete understanding. To be sure, they desire love, goodness, truth, beauty, and being as they experience them in the world; but they also desire these in their perfected and unlimited form. St. Augustine describes this quest as fides quaerens intellectus: “faith in search of understanding.” Those of faith recognize this as their desire for God.

In the “Three Ages of the Interior Life,” Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange writes about it this way …

As soon as a man seriously seeks truth and goodness, this intimate conversation with himself tends to become conversation with God. Little by little, instead of seeking himself in everything, instead of tending more or less consciously to make himself a center, man tends to seek God in everything, and to substitute for egoism love of God and of souls in Him. This constitutes the interior life. No sincere man will have any difficulty in recognizing it. The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it.

As I wrote in an earlier article, I’ve come to understand that we have, by and large, removed the very gateway into the Divine Life. Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order:

“Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven” (“Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam,” II 7,7).

As you can see, the gateway is “Fear of the Lord” (or “Awe and Wonder”). If there is an order, and I agree with this saint that there is, then we must break through to the first gift of the Holy Spirit in order to traverse to and through the other gifts. Or, to put it another way, “If we don’t *get this* we won’t *get the rest.*” And, we will languish in a darkened and dreary existence.

So, what is Fear of the Lord? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord …

“… inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God.”

In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the true problem of our times is the ‘Crisis of God’, the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity.”

Yes, we have gone a long way, over the past 50 years, to remove the very gateway to the Divine Life. Before the destructive post-Vatican II trend of stripping out of all things sacred, Catholicism led the way in preparing the souls of the faithful to receive this first and most necessary gateway Gift of Awe and Wonder through sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music and special attention to the sacred offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

So, we can see that our aim is to invite souls to become more interior and to tend to union with God. As long as they linger in an egocentric existence, they remain darkened in this impoverished and diminished existence. St. Paul wrote:

“The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).

With this in mind, we become aware of the true or authentic nature of evangelization. All efforts must be made to assist the faithful in becoming “more open” to the first gift of the Holy Spirit: “Awe and Wonder;” to help them move from “unspiritual man” to “spiritual man.” If we miss this, we miss everything.

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR AUTHENTIC EVANGELIZATION

Okay, if you accept my premise, then let’s look at what authentic evangelization looks like, and how to lay the groundwork.

There are many great teaching aids out there (DVDs, books, websites, etc.) but, if you accept my premise, we still have the problem of what St. Paul calls, “the unspiritual man.” Much is spoken about the lack of catechesis as being the problem today, but little is spoken about a “lack of hunger for catechesis.” All of these books and DVDs are great for those who are already evangelized, but what about those who are not? What about those who have no hunger for these tools, or maybe even see them as foolish?

After many years of “laying the groundwork,” I find myself evangelizing by inviting people to attend Sunday Mass. A great help to evangelization is the realization that people are sick and tired of the mundane. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not, they have a great longing for the transcendent.

Knowing this, I have been in fast food stores, supermarkets, restaurants, etc., and I find myself leading the conversation to faith. Most of the time, I am speaking with someone who has left their faith years ago. While showing no signs of disappointment and judgment, I start speaking to them about the “heavenly Mass” at my parish. I tell them the Mass is offered “old school.” I use words like “classic” and “retro” (because I know they are sick of the trends and fads of modernity too), and I reassure them they will not be asked to do anything that makes them uncomfortable … they are left to simply “soak it in and pray.”

I can’t begin to tell you just how positive are the responses. They assure me they can’t wait to come, and they do. I believe we have something truly substantial and authentic to offer them. In this “heavenly setting,” their hardened hearts are made soft and supple, like a sponge. They are laid open to receive what God so desperately wants to give them: The Divine Life.

So, what is this “groundwork” that allows the Mass itself to be Source and Summit of authentic evangelization? This is what we did …

We began offering the Mass ad orientem (this was the most important improvement – greatest impact)
We offer a communion rail (we offered a wedding kneeler – pre-dieux – at first) for the “option” of kneeling
We encourage (mainly through teaching) proper reception of Communion (kneeling and on the tongue)
We restored chant and polyphony (no more contemporary songs)
We added more Latin
We no longer use extraordinary ministers
We use more incense
We added more silence
We eliminated the sign of peace
We encouraged appropriate attire
We support sacred veiling of women
We use only male altar servers, and they are very well-trained (like a military honor guard)
We worked very hard to develop an excellent choir
The priest stays strictly to the rubrics and chants his parts of the Mass
We gave great attention to signs of the mystery of redemption (veiling chalice and tabernacle, vestments of priests, altar servers in cassock and surplice, gloves for servers touching sacred objects, etc.)
We made every effort to restore sacred art and architecture
We offer the Traditional Latin Mass at one of the Sunday Mass times
While all of this is meant to assist the soul in being raised to a sense of transcendence, it also speaks of a “seriousness” of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In such transcendent beauty and splendor, it becomes difficult for the soul to remain flippant about their faith any longer. In many cases, this exposure to a sense of transcendence “flips a switch” in people’s faith lives, and they “get it” (they are illuminated) … they now know their relationship with God is the highest priority of their lives. Many, including myself, are moved to tears of indescribable joy in beholding the “Real Presence” of God in this most sacred liturgy. It is a union one never wants to lose.

This is the gift of “Awe and Wonder.” NOW, one has moved from unspiritual man to spiritual man. NOW, he can receive all of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. NOW, the truths of God are no longer foolishness but a “way of life.” NOW, the soul hungers for “the more” of God. NOW, has the man been truly and authentically evangelized.

THE NOVUS ORDO AND TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS

Anyone is free to disagree with me, but I believe the Church is in crisis, as Pope Benedict XVI said, because many Novus Ordo Masses are offered etsi Deus non daretur.

Pope Benedict XVI famously stated,

“I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur (as though God were not there): in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us.”

I agree.

Listen, we can knock on all the doors we want and create all the DVDs we want, but if our “landing pad” … The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the very Source and Summit of our faith … is not assisting people to move into the Divine Life, we are spinning our wheels … our efforts are in vain. Authentic evangelization begins by getting our house in order. So, I very much understand when those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass have grave reservations in regard to the Novus Ordo Mass.

However, I believe (and so do the giants in our Church – Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider, Cardinal Arinze, etc.) that the Novus Ordo, offered as I described above, plays a pivotal role for those who have been away from the Mass or have been immersed in a Protestantized etsi Deus non daretur version of the Novus Ordo for a lifetime.

Most of them have been conditioned to be very busy during the Mass, and most of them do not comprehend the value of using a language they do not understand. So, the long periods of, as most would say, “just sitting there,” or listening to something incomprehensible is, for most, non-negotiables. In other words, they are not yet “ready” for the Traditional Latin Mass. Now, I know there are exceptions, and I know some people will describe there own story that refutes this, but we are talking about the vast majority of souls who are simply “unspiritual” right now, mostly due to what Pope Benedict XVI refers to as “the disintegration of the liturgy.” Our charitable concern extends to them. We want to evangelize them.

In my own parish, I have witnessed this very thing. We have had a great influx of beautiful young families whose stories speak of anything from being away for years to being an atheist. One way or another, they checked out our more pure form of the Novus Ordo, and they received the gateway gift of the Holy Spirit. A few years later, and some are now “ready” to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Who are they now? Deeply devoted Catholics who are inspiring others to “want” what they found.

This is authentic evangelization.

I love this depiction of a woman receiving the gateway gift of Awe and Wonder. She will now be changed for life. (You can start watching at the 3:00 mark)
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/