Mothers and Fathers, sons and daughters, quite a few single older gentlemen, grandmothers, and singles all knelt in silence asthe priest said prayers. This was my forth Tridentine Mass, and this one was to be my first high mass.
I was received into the Catholic Church this last Easter as a Byzantine Rite Catholic and received Sacraments of Christian Initiation. So many things are new to me, especially the Tridentine Latin Mass. I have been attending Byzantine Liturgy and can sing along with nearly the entire Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I intend to write reflections on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in a forthcoming blog.
This High Mass was the feast of Fatima. A very special day, and the 100th anniversary. St. Giana’s was full this Saturday morning with parishioners making a special effort to dress in the Sunday best and be early for the Sacrament of Confession and to pray. The room was surprisingly quiet for such a crowd as the faithful came in and quickly knelt to pray while they waited in silence.
As I looked over at the life size crucifix on the wall to the left, I wondered, “how much reverence and honor is our Lord due?”. I then grabbed the Missal and began praying the prayers. I reflected on so many things there before the Holy images all around the room. As I prayed, I thanked God for sending His Son into the world to save sinners. And as I prayed I began to lose track of time when suddenly the priest began the liturgy.
The Mass was over an hour that morning but time seemed to stand still as we were caught up in the liturgy. We bow as the priest lifts the host(bread), but I glanced up a little to see the priest lift the host, and I thought how our Lord said, “if I be lifted up….”.
Our ancestors were converted from paganism and christianized with this refinement and liturgy. Christendom was held together around this table of blessing.
Compared to our protestant roots, this liturgy is no ‘free for all’. It is ordered and liturgical worship. The priest faces forward the entire time, not the congregation, as worship is given to the Blessed Trinity.
We filed to the front in order to receive the Lord and we knelt and received communion. Such care was given, such reverence, such honor and piety. Children filed to their seats hands folded in prayer and knelt to pray. Young and old knelt and prayed as we thanked God for this Bread from Heaven.
I am Byzantine Catholic and am very thankful for it. And at the same time, I am grateful for the Latin Rite. I am thankful for the Sacraments and the devotion we Catholics are able to give the Blessed Trinity in these Liturgies.