I was a Novus Ordo Catholic for 40+ years. I grew up in the Novus Ordo and never questioned anything there until I began attending Catholic Biblical School (I’m in my 4th year) and learned deeply about where the Catholic Faith came from and what God has revealed to us in Scripture about the Mass.Why It Isn’t JUST About Latin – Elizabeth Petrucelli
My Latin Mass series isn’t technically over but I certainly haven’t blogged about it this year. I am actually quite surprised that this is my first blog of the year, but it is fitting. The Traditional Latin Mass is under attack, from within it’s own Church and the underlying complaint from “Catholics” is that the Mass needs to be in the vernacular and more modern. They want us to give up our “old, dead language” so everyone can understand and participate in the Mass. Guess what, if you go to another country, Mass is in the vernacular and you won’t understand it. The most offensive statement is that the Latin Mass is what we “prefer.”
Look, it’s not JUST about the Latin.
My family has been attending the Latin Mass for 14 months now. The changes that have occurred within our family are indescribable but I will do my best to share with all of you some of what I find most important about the Latin Mass. In order to do that, I ask that you open your mind to what you are about to read. I ask that you do not compare to what you have at your Mass or church because that’s your story, not mine and I want you to hear mine.
As I stated in my Latin Mass series, I succumbed to the TLM. I didn’t have an “ah-ha” moment where I just felt like this was the place to be from the moment I sat down. I had never felt more alone at the Latin Mass. It was odd but I followed my friend’s (priest) advice and went every Sunday for the next two months. I was hoping for something specific that would solidify this was the right place for me and what I came to find out was, it wasn’t about me at all.
I had come to the Latin Mass for an experience, one that would lead me closer to God, and one that I would “feel good” about. What I received was a wake up call. What I received was a more devout life and family. I began doing things I never thought I would do.
I truly believe though, that God placed me on this path and I became open to His Will and I firmly believe with everything I am made of, that this is God’s Will, even though it looks like the Latin Mass is about to be suppressed and anyone attending Latin Mass will be in schism. I never thought I would be facing schism. Why is this happening?
I was a Novus Ordo Catholic for 40+ years. I grew up in the Novus Ordo and never questioned anything there until I began attending Catholic Biblical School (I’m in my 4th year) and learned deeply about where the Catholic Faith came from and what God has revealed to us in Scripture about the Mass.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I began to question what was being said during the liturgy (Mass) when things began to differ from all I had known for decades. I accepted the change of “Lord I am not worthy…,” merely because I asked my parents about this and they said, “those were the words we used to say.” So we were returning to the original translation or rather “tradition.”
But I was longing for the little bits of Latin that used to come every Advent and Lenten Seasons. Somehow, our pastor had removed the Latin and Greek (no more Kyrie or Sanctus). Why? Latin wasn’t used at every Mass but certainly was during Advent and Lent. The seasons came and went and every time I thought…”well, maybe next time?” But that next time never came and gradually, the organ was used less and less and was replaced with piano, guitars and multiple singers who were singing more secular-type songs than the ones I grew up with; which by the way, are considered non-sacred but I loved them. (On Eagles Wing’s, Be Not Afraid)
I had began veiling several years ago, despite only one or two veiling at the Mass; which led me to wearing more feminine clothing like skirts and dresses to Mass. This was when I started to see a transformation in me. The veil helped me to stay focused on what was happening at the altar. The veil was like blinders; which prevented me from the distractions around me, like hand-holding parishioners, the orans posture by parishioners, and children eating in the pews. These were all things I had seen over the years added by someone at some point with no push back.
Despite already veiling and dressing more appropriately for Mass, switching to the Latin Mass wasn’t that easy. I didn’t understand all aspects of the Mass so there was a learning curve, plus, I had never kneeled at a Communion Rail. Bringing a Latin Mass Missal really helped. I found that single best thing to understanding and learning the Latin Mass. But again, it’s not JUST the Latin.
I didn’t need to read or understand the Latin to feel like I participated in Mass, it was much deeper. I had to follow along very closely and learn all the chanting. I had to read each page of the Missal intently and that’s when I discovered so much more was happening during the Mass than I ever knew.
I also had to learn submission. The Bible is very clear on submission. I had to allow the priest to make the Sacrifice on MY behalf. It wasn’t my Sacrifice to begin with really, it was offered for us. The priest has a very specific role, just like they did in the Bible while they were in the Holy of Holies. Where is that, by the way, in the Novus Ordo Mass? Lay people walk all over the Sanctuary during the Mass and are allowed in all the same places as the priest. I don’t understand this. It would help you to understand Exodus. Re-read it, especially Exodus 25 and on.
I had to learn my place was in the pew, not up near the altar or tabernacle, not reading the readings or bringing up gifts. My place was to offer my own sacrifices as I am a priest, prophet and king but not in the same way the ministerial priest is. Learning submission and allowing the priest to do what they were commanded by God to do was humbling and I began to find much peace and contentment during the Mass then ever before.
I was wearing a veil, still “blinded” to what was going on around me but I didn’t have any worry about someone wanting to grab my hand to pray the Our Father. We were all focused on the same thing; the Sacrifice. I could adore the crucifix. I could offer more to God during the Mass than ever before! I found myself begging God to teach me how to love Him. I asked for forgiveness more. I asked for him to bring me closer to him and follow in His ways.
After receiving the Eucharist, I prayed the Acts of Confidence, Love, and Petitions. Prayers I had never seen before. Instead of asking God for all kinds of “things” after receiving, I had a better understanding of what I needed to do. God knows my needs and my wants, He will grant them as He sees fit.
Confession was even different. Questions were asked in the confessional and advice was given. I have had priests ask me questions before and provide advice so this was not new to me, but it was to my husband and adult son. The advice given was how to live more ordered toward God and how to do better in my vocations (wife and mother). Penances were more specific and more difficult. Instead of 3 Hail Mary’s, I was praying decades or full rosaries.
The sermons were quite different. They really made you think about what kind of person you want to be in God’s eyes. They were focused on eternity and how to live in the secular world when we have been set apart and shouldn’t live for this world. At the Novus Ordo, it was rare that any homily made you question your actions or thoughts so as not to offend you. It seemed God was so merciful, everyone would go to heaven. The Fear of the Lord didn’t seem apparent there but it was at the forefront of every Latin Mass.
There were other things that began to happen. I committed to praying the rosary every day. For the first time, I fasted seriously during Lent, having one meal a day for 40 days, no meat (not just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but every day), and more penances throughout lent. Our family began praying the Angelus. I recently started praying the morning prayers and am looking forward to adding evening prayers with a daily examination of conscience.
I created a home altar, added more crucifixes in my home and would like to have a crucifix on every wall at some point so no matter where I look, I will see Jesus. I have bought so many more rosaries and while I have about ten, it’s still not enough. I want to have one in every room, every bag, and every car so that I can pick up the rosary and pray at any time. I also have a ton more books and yes, I have Vatican II AND Vatican I documents, which I am reading.
I found myself defending my faith more and had the ability to, especially at work. I would not be bullied into anything that wasn’t Christ-centered. Modernism is an evil and I am fine being fired for standing up for my religious beliefs. Life is going to get hard as I will likely have to comply or quit. Oh well, we’re not made for this world. I’ll find something else. God will lead me.
I know it’s hard for some people to believe “oh well, God will lead me,” but I assure you, He will. I have this confidence because I have good and holy priests who will lead me into the fiery furnace and I would follow them, because they would die for the faith. God has also provided for us when we stand up for His truth, like when we pulled our son from his “Catholic” school 5 months before he was set to graduate and we were rewarded exponentially. When you put your faith and trust in God, He will provide for you.
There are things I miss about the Novus Ordo Mass but I could never go back. What I miss is just what I grew up with and that doesn’t exist where we were going to church for 15+ years. There might be other Novus Ordo Masses which have those things (some do) but it’s a new church and a new community and still doesn’t provide what the Latin Mass has provided for our family.
Some of you might be thinking, “I do all those things and more.” Maybe you are thinking, “our Novus Ordo is reverent and holy.” And yours might be, but out here, I haven’t found one that provides all these things. I haven’t found a Novus Ordo that uses only the organ, has only altar boys, has so few lay people involved, says the same prayers for the consecration, doesn’t deviate from the missal because the priest is tired or his back hurts, allows the congregation to receive the Eucharist on the tongue and actually knows how to distribute it this way, and will tell you that you need to do better because hell is real and people go there! There is so much more.
My faith has never grown this way. There was never an environment for it to grow this way. There weren’t priests who were leading me to heaven. Actually, one did but he left and got his own parish which now offers the Latin Mass. The priests at the Novus Ordo seemed to be putting on a show and just going through the motions or rather, the obligation. Their advice was mediocre and inconsistent so I was confused and when the Mass was stopped because of an illness, all I had ever known and was told didn’t make sense.
The author of confusion is the Devil. God is unchanging.
No one has the authority to stop Mass, nor stop Tradition. For the Catholics who think the church needs to get with the times, you are misled and are misleading others. We are set apart. We are not of this world. We should not change to be of this world and that includes the liturgy. Tradition is important. To reject Tradition, is to reject Christ.
It’s not JUST about the Latin. It’s all these things. God wants us to worship Him. He tells us exactly how He wants to be worshipped. It’s not a secret.
I worship God His Way. Do you want to worship God His Way? This is the Way.