Search This Blog

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Tridentine High Mass for First Saturday

Yesterday, on First Saturday in honor of Our Lady, I had the blessing of attending a sung Tridentine Mass at St. Mary's in Charleston, SC with a beautiful Gregorian schola and the use of incense. It was the first time I'd been to a Mass like that since I was a teenager.

What struck me particularly during Mass was how it is so much about worshiping God, not celebrating the community or a performing priest.

Every liturgical action focuses on the Holy Sacrifice offered to God and our participation in that sacrifice. Those who say the congregation aren't involved are just silly. Is a student attending his professor's lecture not involved because he's silent? Is someone attending a symphony not engaged with the music because he's not a member of the orchestra?

Of course the congregation is involved -- more involved, in fact, than those who are focused on superficials like holding hands at the Our Father and singing Gather Us In.

Consider St. Paul saying that we make up for what's lacking in the sacrifice of the Lord and you realize that we are doing it right there during the Mass. We join our free will to Jesus' saving action to become partners with Him in rescuing sinners from eternal damnation. Wow!

As I was reading my missal during the lavabo when the priest washes his hands, these words made a deep impression:
Destroy not my soul with the wicked, O God; nor my life with men of blood. In whose hands are iniquities; their right hand is filled with gifts.
Haven't we seen that in spades recently? Think about the Planned Parenthood videos showing the women "of blood" eagerly discussing the sale of tiny brains and "cute" hearts while they poor their blood money (and our tax dollars) into Hillary Clinton's coffers. Yes indeed, their hands are filled with murderous iniquity and their right hand is filled with gifts to politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, and all the pro-abort Democrats who make abortion a diabolical sacrament.

And thanks to these evil men, all of us have blood on our hands because of the institutionalization of the killing. Despite our desire not to participate, it's impossible. If we pay taxes, buy a plane ticket, or medicine, or groceries, or use our credit cards or cell phones we unwillingly support organizations whose hands are covered in blood.

And so we turn to the Lord and plead, "I have walked in mine innocence; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the straight way; in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord."

I think the only time I've "walked in mine innocence" was before I reached the age of reason. I'm too conscious of my own past (and present) sinfulness to claim innocence. But Christ, through His sacrifice, which is so evident in the Tridentine Mass, can restore me to innocence as I pray with the priest, "I will wash my hands among the innocent; and compass thine altar, O Lord....My foot hath stood in the straight way; in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord."

The Mass yesterday brought tears to my eyes and once again reminded me how much we have lost in our modern, noisy churches often filled with music more appropriate for a caberet than a liturgy, where the focus is on celebrating a banquet rather than offering with the patriarchs and prophets of old a holy sacrifice. Yesterday, my husband and I clearly participated in a service worshiping God. Unfortunately, that is often not so clear in our modern liturgies.

"Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech thee, O Lord; that we may be worthy to enter with pure minds into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen."


  1. In my parish, St. John the Beloved in McLean, we are blessed to have the Tridentine High Mass every Sunday and a low Mass on Monday evening.

  2. You are blessed indeed. We were actually at St. Mary's in Charleston, SC. Beautiful old church! We went there for Sunday Mass as well and everyone kneels at the altar rail for Communion. It was a reverent Novus Ordo, but lots of chit-chat in the church before and after Mass. People have no sense of where they are!

  3. God Bless you! You've given me perfect answers for why I attend the beautiful Latin Mass at St. Stephen of Hungary in Allentown, PA.

  4. Thank you for sharing that and letting readers know of another source for the TLM. When we travel we are always looking for great stopping places.

  5. I know you don't like the modern liturgies, but I was moved when I attended Mass with Dave for the first time. I have always felt the Holy Spirit was working on me that day, and I am grateful. It was a Mass that you would have hated. College Mass with guitars and songs like "Gather Us In", but it still felt reverent yet joyful. If Dave had taken me to Tridentine High Mass, it would have been a harder sell. Personally, I love all the modern songs. Dave and I even sang "Gather Us In" at our wedding. Thanks for not expressing your distaste at the time. My point is that it might not be exactly what you like, but it may have a place. It definitely worked for me.

  6. Thanks Jes,

    I thank God for any reverent Mass whether it's the Tridentine or the Novus Ordo. I confess I do hate Gather Us In, but there are other modern songs I like, e.g., Here I Am, Lord. Even a "guitar Mass" can be reverent. After all, Silent Night was first done on guitar. But if "hymns" are toe tappers, I think they're inappropriate for the liturgy.

    Have I ever told you how glad I am that David met and married you? And thank you for all those beautiful grandkids. Wish you all lived next door! Don't forget to let us know about the kids' activities this Spring. We can't come to them all, but we love seeing you and would happily cheer the kids on at some of their events.