Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mass in the Extraordinary Form and Obstructed View Seats

Thursday greetings to all.

I wanted to reply to the comment made on my post yesterday. Commenting on my "obstructed view" at Mass, John Drake said:

Jerry, your reaction at this obstructed view Mass sort of echoes the reaction that many have to their first experience of the Extraordinary Form Mass. You can't quite see everything the priest is doing (facing the apse rather than the nave) but you know something holy is going on!

First of all, John, thank you for reading this blog and for your comment yesterday. Some of you may recall that I published a series of posts on my experience of Mass in the extraordinary form many months ago. Here is a photo I took the day I attended that Mass.

I am not discounting your or others' experience of Mass in the extraordinary form. From those posts, you can see that my experience of Mass in the extraordinary form was quite different that what you described in your comment. My problem was that I really was not understanding what was going on around me at that Mass. All of the bowing and what struck me as very odd choreography was more confusing to me than it was holy. And the fact that confessions were going on quite near me during the entire Mass, including the moment when one man waited until the words of institution were being read as his cue to rush to the confessional, struck me as quite odd; why would someone celebrate another sacrament when the preeminent sacrament was occurring right before his very eyes? Granted, it was a "low Mass," but frankly I was hard pressed to discover what was holy about that experience. Perhaps I need to take another stab, at a Mass with music.

And the real difference for me at my "obstructed view" Mass was that Mass in the ordinary form is what is at the heart of my Catholic life. That is the form of the Mass that shapes and nourishes me week after week. Even though I could not see what was happening, I knew what was happening and because of my rootedness in that liturgical form, it was holy for me. Perhaps those who attend Mass in the extraordinary form experience the same thing once repeated celebrations form them in a similar way.

As always, comments welcome.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As I recall from that earlier series on the Extraordinary Form, a number of commenters encouraged you to do just that...give it a few more tries. You definitely should experience a Missa Cantata. My family recently went to one and one of my sons, a college senior, remarked that it was the first time he'd felt like he really attended Mass in months.