In my last post, I ended with my opinion that if the Catholic Church returned to kneeling to receive the Eucharist, more people would come to believe in the Real Presence. I have heard that people haven’t always kneeled to receive the Eucharist. Fair enough…but there also wasn’t this crisis where people didn’t believe what they were receiving in the Eucharist. Maybe there was, and that is why we returned to kneeling to receive?
I can only guess right now, as I am not a theologian or expert in that area. Maybe you know more? Share it!
It’s quite obvious that receiving the Eucharist in this way makes us vulnerable. We are kneeling, closing our eyes, tilting our heads back, and receiving in an exposed area of our body. It takes an act of humility to receive in this way. Is our pride really so strong that we cannot control it to receive God’s love in this way?
There is still the question of why someone believed the Mass at the women’s conference was a Latin Mass. She specifically called it a “Pre-Vatican II” Mass. I wonder if she has ever attended a Pre-Vatican II Mass because 70% of the prayers that are said during the Pre-Vatican II Mass are NOT said during a Novus Ordo Mass. Want a side-by-side comparison? Here is another link you might find helpful.
Many will also say that it’s “for our benefit” that those prayers were removed. After reading my Missal for the past two years while following along with priest during the Mass, I am shocked at how much I didn’t know. Prayers I never knew existed were right in front of me. These are the prayers the saints were exposed to yet I had no knowledge of them.
And then there was the priest, facing away from me.
The woman complaining she couldn’t understand the Mass, a Novus Ordo Mass by the way, was really upset because the priest faced away. After 45 years of attending Mass with the priest facing away, this was probably the least confusing aspect for me when I began attended TLM. If I were being honest, it almost makes no sense for Ad Orientum (priest facing away) when the Mass is not in Extraordinary Form. Too much is missing.
Yet, if you truly understand what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, it’s really not questionable. It makes complete sense. Remember, we are a fulfillment of Judaism. Some of the manners will be similar. What did the priests do in the tabernacle or Temple?
The altar is in a different location for the Novus Ordo Mass and there is much discussion regarding the problems with the placement of the altar. To face the congregation means the priest is the focus of the Mass. The priest should not be the focus. The priest is there for you, offering for you, THROUGH him, TO Him.
Active participation is usually the next argument. If it’s in Latin, I don’t understand it and I can’t participate OR, I won’t know if the priest’s words make the Mass invalid. The first argument is just silly. Active participation is INTERNAL, not external. And the latter argument is ridiculous. How would you even know in the vernacular if the priest said something that invalidated the Mass unless you are a liturgical scholar?
Every movement of the priest in the TLM is purposeful and liturgical. It is truly amazing to have a priest DO for you. Again, it’s an act of humility and trust. “It’s not what we grew up with.” “It’s so unfamiliar.” I get it, truly I do. Remember, when I first attended, I felt the most alone at a Mass then I ever had. I felt far away from God but now, I don’t want to leave when I am there. It’s as close to Him as I will get on this earth. I am there early and stay long after Mass.
When I read Revelation (Apocalypse), it was blatantly obvious that this is the Mass of Heaven. THIS IS what the angels and saints participate in. There IS an altar and we worship Him in Heaven. After four years in Biblical School and the culmination was reading Revelation, I realized I was lied to my entire life. Revelation is not to be feared, it is to be longed for. It is the fulfillment of all that is right and true. It is the Mass, not the destruction of the world.
So again, I challenge you. Read Revelation. Go to a Traditional Latin Mass (High Mass) but don’t just go once. It’s rare that you’ll experience an “ah-ha” moment that first time. Go five times, or seven! Seven is a fantastic number and means so much in our Catholic “culture.” Read the book and follow along the Latin. You will see all that is familiar to you in the Novus Ordo yet there is so much more.
It’s not really about the Latin, because Latin IS the normative language for the Novus Ordo Mass. Every priest could change the language of the Mass to Latin and it would still be the Novus Ordo Mass. It could be a distaste or struggle with change and it’s likely related to your pride. It’s our tradition. Why is tradition a bad word these days?
If you find you just can’t go to a Traditional Latin Mass, maybe start as I did? I began to kneel to receive the Eucharist. I still received in my hand but I felt that since we believe that the Eucharist IS the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I could not receive him standing as if we were equals.
After months of kneeling, I felt a call to receive on the tongue. Every piece of Christ would remain in my mouth. Nothing would fall to the ground or be stuck to my clothing. Yes, even tiny particles are left on your hand but if you are absolutely convicted that you will not receive on the tongue, kneel. He is Our Lord. You will be unable to stand if He came to you now. Believe the Eucharist IS Him.
Humble yourself and kneel for the Lord.