Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mystery of the Mass

towards the people
I have children of both forms of the Western Rite:
(the Eastern Rite has the Divine Liturgy)

TLM - currently referred to as the "extraordinary form" which is actually a historical misnomer, in that there are two main Masses: High Mass and Low Mass - High Mass is the ordinary form, Low Mass is the extraordinary form

Novus Order (NO - currently referred to as the "ordinary form" - but it was designed based off the Low Mass of the TLM - so a form of the extraordinary form...).

The children don't care about semantics. They just want the facts. So I present a quick intro to both forms of the Mass in all the atriums I lead; and in atriums where I know I have children of both forms, we really get into exploration of both.

When I present such materials, I present both forms (overview-only if I have no children from the other form in any particular atrium).

Of course, in the Novus Ordo, the priests CAN (and are actually rubrically encouraged to) face ad-orientem:
     facing the East - towards the sunrise - towards Christ our Light - bringing the people to Christ as the shepherd the priest is for us, his flock

Most Novus Ordo priests don't face ad orientem - instead choosing to focus on the communal aspect of our Church and face the people. Ok.

I show both to the children. Until 3rd grade, they tend to be good with it. After 3rd grade, hostilities arise and we work through those issues towards a place of respect.

But I don't understand the hostilities in some of the children. With ONE exception in the last 8 years, it has been Novus Ordo children with the hostilities; the TLM children quietly and respectfully accept the NO presentation and choose to work on the TLM materials or simply find other work to do in their free time. Now, to be fair, most of the NO children, when introduced to the idea of a difference in the TLM form, just accept it and choose to work with their own Mass form.

towards Christ
I had one boy last year, whose parents have never discussed the TLM Mass - have no hostilities one way or another (don't even know that much about it anyway and certainly wouldn't judge) - VERY strongly tell me that the priest facing away from the people is wrong; even if he's leading us to Jesus, he should be facing us so that we can see everything he does. He was quite angry when I quietly and with genuine interest suggested there may be more to the story that we could discuss (he refused to discuss).

Which is an interesting insight. There is certainly comfort in knowing what our leaders are doing. And while God lets us know what He is doing - we certainly don't understand it (the great Mystery of our Faith) - and we certainly don't "see" everything He does even in our own lives when we are hurt or suffering and can't see what God is doing to guide us to the path He has laid for us.

So does the Liturgy have to be "all things known to us" - or can we have some mystery? We explore these mysteries in the atrium from the child's earliest days - yet we leave the atrium 9 years later without fully understanding them - because we are not meant to fully understand. Only to appreciate - and to accept.

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