Discovering the depth of riches Christ has bestowed upon us through the Catholic Faith is like finding a hidden treasure chest which, once opened, is irresistible. Surely, satan rejoices in the crisis we face within the Church today because it takes our eyes off the Faith and focuses our attention on the problems rather than on the immense riches of the truth.
Keeping this in mind, it is with vigilance and sorrowful hearts that we engage in this battle facing the Church in our day. It is only for the greater glory of God that we take up the fight against compromise which dominates Christianity at the turn of the century. A compromise in worship and liturgy has led to a compromise in faith and practice, taking its toll on the spiritual as well as the human level.
So, it is with much rejoicing and spiritual relief that we can enter into the true Mass where we are momentarily freed from battle; where we are given a small taste of Heaven. Actively and interiorly participating in the Tridentine Mass brings the soul to an oasis, an absolute encounter with grace. It is there that one can contemplate the Mystery of Faith in the surroundings proper to it. It is there, in the Tridentine Mass that one can finally say, "I'm home."
This reality profoundly affects the total person, body and soul. Awareness of the intense struggle within the Novus Ordo establishment between the dominating liberal forces and the radical conservatives ceases. The fight by both sides to win over total control of Paul VI's Mass comes to a screeching halt. All the contradictions, hypocrisy, confusion and loss of faith that accompanies the church of the new order fade from sight. None of these things have power over the true Tridentine Mass, and the individual is free to rest in the arms of God, in the warming, welcoming atmosphere of the home.
You know you're home when the Sacred Liturgy is the same one handed down to you through the loving hands of your elder brothers and sisters in the faith. Since the time of the Apostles, its organic development accompanied the early Christians through the centuries and arrived beautifully intact at the doors of the twentieth century. The same words, the same prayers, the same time honored gestures and symbols beloved by saints for hundreds of years in worshipping Almighty God still echo His praises in the halls of Heaven.
You know you're home when the congregation is aware that the entire Mass leading up to and including the Canon is a preparation for the august privilege of participating in Christ's Holy Sacrifice and receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior. Because the Tridentine Mass is complete and clear in its theology, it is not necessary to petition the bishop or priest to circulate special prayers (which have been deleted from the Novus Ordo Missae) before Communion in an attempt to convince the people that Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Sacrament under the appearances of bread and wine. (Patrick Madrid, editor of Envoy, in a recent article titled "Lex orandi, Lex credendi", suggests that Catholics adopt a prayer before Holy Communion taken from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Says Madrid, "If we begin (re)teaching Catholics how to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, we can begin to stem the tide of disbelief and apathy. Consider this prayer as a way to achieve this…" Envoy/Encore, January 4, 2003)
When you're home, you don't have to be bothered with unbelieving priests spouting out the latest heresies being taught in the seminaries, or keeping you up to date on the newest "theological developments" according to the most recent article in Commonweal.
At home, people don't stare or whisper that you are a pious idiot when you approach the communion rail to receive Jesus with your hands folded and your head bowed. No one will accuse you of taking religion too seriously, or suspect that you have suspicious motives for attending the Holy Mass. (In a recent letter received by Una Voce from Msgr. Perl of the Pontificial Ecclesia Dei Commission, the "motive" of the faithful for wanting the Tridentine Mass is listed as one of the things that must be considered by bishops before granting permission for the ancient Latin Rite of the Mass!)
Home is the place where you can return to your pew after Holy Communion and get caught up in the joy of thanksgiving during the intimate moments with Jesus right after receiving the Sacrament. No one will badger you with announcements or create a diversion intent on preventing you from giving your own private praises to God.
When you're home, you don't need anybody constantly telling you that you're a member of the family or trying to influence your focus away from God onto the community. You already know you are part of the family…that's why you wanted so badly to come home.
When you've been away from home for a long time it's sometimes hard to go back. There will be many adjustments, and certain things might seem rather foreign at first. It will take time getting used to the fact that you don't have to keep your eyes closed during the Mass in order to avoid witnessing a constant cascade of liturgical abuses. You'll discover that the peace, silence and focus of the Mass are God-given gifts to help you contemplate the mysteries of God so that you may live a more virtuous and holy life.
Upon arriving home, you won't have to pretend that sin doesn't exist or that the confessional is a scourge to your good character. Here, the confessional is well used and people seek it out regularly in preparation for Holy Mass, believing in the restorative powers of the sacrament of penance along with the healing balm and graces coming directly from the hands of our Lord.
Finally, you will come to realize that the real battle to which God calls us is outside of the Mass; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was never meant to be a battleground, nor was it ever meant to be a laboratory for experimentation. Nearly 2000 years of documented Church history shows us that the Church has never believed the Mass to be the personal property of any era, of any pope or council. The true Holy Mass is where you can hang your hat and leave all those troubles behind.
Thank You, Lord! It's so good to be home!
Shears and Tears of a Lamb